Luca Berti – Nordic Blue

26.08.2023 — 14.01.2024

Luca Berti’s captivating and timeless photo exhibition tells the story of the relationship between man and nature in the Nordic countries, including Estonia, through the beautiful analogue photographic technique called cyanotype. Berti is an Italian photographer based in Denmark and known as a master of slow photography. He travels around the Nordic countries on his bicycle, shooting with an analogue film camera and using only traditional darkroom techniques. The ‘blue’ exhibition presented here adds a new layer to the author’s work, as his works in this format have never been showcased. The exhibition will glimpse Nordic life through a novel and quintessentially Nordic blue lens.

 The Story of Blue

Blue is a colour that reflects the spirit of our latitude. It can be found everywhere in its different shades; hence, it has inspired many artists to use blue in their work. The choice of cyanotype for Luca Berti’s exhibition project also stems from the fact that this unique analogue technique depends very much on direct sunlight. The longing for light and sun is familiar to anyone in Nordic countries. Daylight is essential, especially in rural areas where daily work is directly dependent on sunlight. Our shared Nordic experience of white nights in summer is of similar importance, which seems to make up for the darkness of the rest of the year. The classical cyanotype development process, especially using natural sunlight, requires forbearance and patience, which are also inherent in the Nordic character and customs. We have to have patience to wait for the daylight and sunshine but also for success, happiness, love, etc.

 The unpredictable appearance of sunlight and warmth has taught the Nordic people to be prepared for the unexpected: you can never know if and how much sunlight there will be, whether and how it will affect your work, the harvest, holidays, celebrations, etc. Artists using cyanotype also have to be ready for the unexpected. When using natural sunlight, especially with unpredictable weather, keeping the work process and the result under control is complicated. The Nordic character often comes with a special hint of a blue mood, a poetic melancholy reflected in Nordic life and nature and has left its tracks in art, literature, music and films. 

 The uniqueness of blueprinting

So many factors influence this unique developing process of cyanotype or blueprinting that it makes both the process and the end result very special – it is possible to strive for perfection if there is enough skill and experience. Still, at the same time, imperfections and accidents add nuance, layers and uniqueness to images. Both versions are represented in this exhibition, although considering that Luca Berti is a master of analogue photography, this time, the focus is on the classic cyanotype in all its complexity, controlled by Luca in the laboratory with a UV lamp. Because of the sensitivity of the process, each manually developed photograph is unique. The essence of the cyanotype technique will be presented by Luca Berti in a video, complemented by occasional experiments in the photo gallery.

* Cyanotype is a photographic process in which an image is reproduced on paper by combining iron-containing chemicals and ultraviolet light. The result is an image with white lines on a blue background.

 Luca Berti

Luca Berti (b 1978) is a freelance photographer from Florence who has lived and worked in Denmark for over 20 years. He graduated from the Italian Institute of Photography in Milan, worked as a fashion photographer from 2000 to 2012, and since 2012 has been dedicated to a documentary project focusing on rural life in the Nordic and Baltic countries in the 21st century. 

Luca Berti is a true master of labour-intensive and slow analogue photography. His photos look refreshingly timeless in the ephemeral digital age. His works have been on exhibitions in Denmark, Norway, Latvia, Finland, Italy, Germany and Estonia. Find out more at

“My relationship with cyanotype is a direct consequence of my passion for 19th-century photography and, in a more general perspective of the past, its forgotten values, feelings and moods in art and everyday life. With a large format camera and cyanotype as a technique to print the photos, I feel an imaginary, though intense, connection with the old masters I am inspired by and also with their world, which I am looking for in all my projects. In this way, my photo camera becomes my time machine.”

The exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Telliskivi Creative City, The Nordic Council, Nordea, Danish Cultural Institute, Artproof, Taevas Ogilvy, Tikkurila Estonia, Ajar Stuudiod

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