The “Loto Nero“ (“black lotus” in English) series by Costanza Gastaldi was made during a solo trip in September 2018, in the Huangshan Mountains (the Yellow Mountains) located in the eastern provinces of China. With a view camera, Gastaldi browses the area, uses dizzying staircases carved within the rock, crosses the pine forests that unfold at the feet of granite peaks over 1000 meters high. In this nature permanently immersed in the mists, the photographer captures the mysteries of a site of stunning beauty, which once inspired Chinese poets. Her wanderings restore a sensitive experience where the silence, the density of the flora and the perception of a space that disintegrates under the effect of clouds heckled by the winds give the site a certain hypnotic power.

Through her lens, Gastaldi magnifies the impermanence of things. A mineral world whose roughness emerges in touches, Loto Nero suggests the transitory state of reality. The charcoal blacks, the texture of the grays, the powdery whites confer to the images powerful plastic effects. The photograph becomes an engraving, rubbing against the limits of its medium. Has the light fixed the image or not? Reflection on the perception of reality and time, Loto Nero invites the reader into a dreamlike world where the senses are questioned, where the impression of “photographic surreality” becomes poetic.

A cross interview between the photographer, a Chinese philosopher and a stage director will address both cultural and plastic notions of the perception of space, reality and wandering.

Great attention will be paid to the aesthetic of the images in the book in order to be as close as possible to the original prints made with charcoal. The printing will be a real technical challenge by the use of ultra pigmented black inks and metallic inks, like the cover image of the book, printed here on a metallic paper in order to translate this research of a feeling of vibration in the image.


Born in Italy in 1993, the artist-photographer Costanza Gastaldi Gastaldi lives and works in Paris. Gastaldi’s landscapes recalls the power and grandeur of nature and reveals its spirituallity. She studied and graduated from both the Gobelins School and the Sorbonne University. Her work has been exhibited internationally at numerous occasions. Her series “Loto Nero“ will be published by Atelier EXB / Éditions Xavier Barral next November.


Les coups de coeurs #192, Fisheye Magazine