For a long time I disassembled, disassembled and reassembled Jhalak, a publication published by RVM Hub which collects the photographs of India by Ilaria Magliocchetti Lombi, born in 1985 among the best Italian portrait photographers.
Thinking about it are perhaps strange actions to do with a book that actually a book is not, or at least not in the classical sense. It is not bound, the pages have different formats and are held together by two thicker cards, one outside and one inside, and a red elastic: “Do they give us the power to layout it?”, I wonder as I examine the pages scattered on the table. The prospect intrigues me.
As this is a journey made by the photographer in 2015, I let myself be guided by instinct as I look at the publication. Obviously, there are those who travel with a list of things to do and see, a very precise timetable, with places and times organized written on a sheet so that they can be checked once visited. But in this case the journey cradles, transports. The Indian chaos is present, among the splashes of water of the children diving and the electric wires tangled between the houses, but it remains far away, like an echo waiting to be perceived and processed. Time expands and space coordinates are lost: we are in India but where? And where do we go? Superfluous questions: the important thing is to go, or maybe the important thing is to feel.
The publication is full of sensations: visual, both for the beauty of the images and for that of the subjects and scenes portrayed; and above all material, given that the different types of paper (a characteristic feature of the RVM Hub publishing house) combined with the masterful use in printing of a black and white with hints of silver make these images physically present: the fog, described in the preface by Vasco Brondi , materializes in the hands of the reader who leafs through the publication, like the dust of the streets that mixes upon encountering water, an omnipresent element between the pages.
The photographs, divided into two different formats, a slightly larger one that acts as an external envelope and one that makes up the central part, are printed on the entire size of the page, on the front and on the back, and are raw cut. When collected in book format, half of the photo on the left dialogues with the half on the back of the next photo, creating new hybrid images, potentially infinite: by changing the sequence, the new images created also change.
This particular structure (conceived by the art director Francesca Pignataro) supports the title of the publication: Jhalak in Hindi it means “glimpse, take a look”. The author’s intent is precisely this: with a trip it is difficult to understand everything about a country, you take a look at it for a longer or shorter time, dealing with your personal experience, with what you have tried and remotely understood. . Exactly the same invitation addressed to those who are struggling with this publication: make these pages your experience.