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It’s not just for tickling

When I decided to make a photo project about freedom, two images immediately emerged in my imagination: a feather and a pen.

I completely trust my instinct; it has never been wrong.

It is always the safe guide of my inspiration in the creative process.

After taking the photographs, I reflected on the choice of these two subjects and their connection.

The feather and the pen are two objects with an ancient and profound symbolic meaning, and they are also the two sides of the same coin.


The feather represents the essential flight tool.

Young people eagerly await the day when they will grow up to have ‘”wings” strong enough to “fly” away from their families to live their autonomous adult life.

Since I was a child, I have loved the myth of Icarus and Daedalus: man, feathers and freedom.

But there’s more.


Feathers are still a vital part of the culture and spirituality of many indigenous peoples on all continents.

Their importance is evident because feathers are used in nearly every aspect of their social life.

American Indians used feathers not only to decorate the headdresses of tribal chiefs and priests but also as currency.

The Totem of each household is adorned with eagle feathers for the side representing the father and hawk feathers for the mother.

In short, feathers are essential.


Let’s dive into the past…

In most ancient human cultures, feathers were symbols of beauty and freedom. For centuries they have been used as signs indicating an individual’s condition of independence from the constraints of society.

Feathers represented power and authority. In ancient Egypt, feathers were seen as a sign of royalty and were worn by the Pharaohs.

For the Egyptians, the eagle feather was a symbol of life.


What, then, is the most representative tools of human freedom?

For me, knowledge.

The tools of human knowledge are books. The tool for writing (together with paper) is the pen. In ancient times it was a stick (the stilium) or a large feather.

On the margin of a page of a 900 A.D. manuscript, preserved in the Biblioteca Capitolare di Verona in Italy, there is a short riddle written in vernacular Italian:

Se pareba boves Alba pratalia araba Albo versorio teneba Negro semen seminaba

In English, this means:

In front of him (he) led oxen White fields (he) ploughed A white plough (he) held A black seed (he) sowed

You already know the solution…

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