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The Leap of Fish that Dream of Flying

Po Delta, Italy

by Isabella Franceschini

Published March 2024. ZEKE Award Honorable Mention winner

Since 2015, The UNESCO MaB (Man and Biosphere) Reserve,in the Po Delta has been undergoing a significant transformation with the decommissioning of the colossal Italian thermal power plant in Polesine Camerini into an innovative and eco-sustainable tourist hotspot geared towards environmental conservation and local employment. This redevelopment project spans 300 hectares and it is part of the Futur-e project, led by the Enel Group, which aims to repurpose 23 disused industrial sites and a former mining area that have completed their role in the energy system. Between 2021 and 2023, the work documented the economic and social fabric of this fragile area, historically threatened by hydraulic dangers such as floods and subsidence. Here, the complex relationship between river, land, and sea has influenced human settlements, engaged in uncertain adaptation to the morphology of an ecosystem in continuous evolution, further exacerbated by sudden climate changes. We are currently experiencing a historical period of profound transformation that urges us to reconsider our way of life, placing increasing emphasis on renewable energies and prioritizing pathways towards a zero-emission energy system.


Isabella's project, "The Leap of Fish that Dream of Flying" will be on display at the Bridge Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 13-May 25, 2024, and at Photoville in Brooklyn, New York, June 1-16, 2024.


Isabella Franceschini


Isabella Franceschini is an Italian freelance photographer, Lowepro Ambassador, and member of the Parallelozera agency. She holds a degree in Economics from the University of Bologna. In 2013, she began her photographic career through international workshops and, since then, photography has become a fundamental part of her life. She further honed her skills in photojournalism by attending a one-year masterclass in Rome. Isabella is currently developing long-term projects primarily inspired by what influences human beings and their relationships. In recent years, her projects have been published in magazines such as The Washington Post, Der Spiegel, l'Espresso, la Repubblica, Marie-Claire, Vanity Fair, and Getty Images. Her work has won numerous international awards. Her long-term project "Becoming a Citizen" won the 2022 “World Report Award Documenting Humanity” and was later exhibited at the Ethical Photography Festival in Lodi which in 2023 won the 21st Julia Margaret Cameron Award.

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