graphistudio ceconi castle

Chronicle of our visit to Graphistudio – 4th and 5th December 2015.

Christmas awaken in me ancestral memories, bringing me back to a magic childhood world, made of surprises and above all, of dreams.

And dreams are what photography and wedding are made of, and as Willy Wonka in the Chocolate Factory,  visiting Graphistudio in Arba – Pordenone, for a photographer is like being in the land of toys …

During the last three years, in the days before Christmas, when our business physiologically slows down, I visit Graphistudio, in a sort of ritual pilgrimage, to see with my own eyes and to touch with my own hands, the many ideas every day this beautiful Italian reality makes true.

Crossing Graphistudio entrance is like taking a bath of creativity, positivity and enthusiasm, with that genuine Friulian industry, able to transform years of experience in objects of unique beauty.

Genius often borders on lunacy and despite those who identify them with a  “little Italy” won by the economic crisis, “those crazy guys from Pordenone” do business at the highest levels, a rare ” Made in Italy  reality” which provides employment for approximately 200 people.

But madness often knows how to be brave.

Despite SenzaPosa is a microscopic reality, we are always greeted in Graphistudio as the most important photographic studio on our planet, they give us hospitality and supporting us almost for two days with Francesco Ferrarin (Graphistudio key account manager) in the guise of a modern Virgil, guiding us through the infernal depression of the wedding photography market, to a paradise of successes made out of printed products created with love.

Day 1. Graphistudio Factory and the Ceconi Castle
Together with our trusted Lorenzo, we arrive in Graphistudio around 11:30 and as usual, the warm smile of Elena welcomes us at the entrance, inviting us to go upstair to the show room on the first floor, where we await the arrival of Francesco, who will accompany us throughout our visit.

graphistudio showroom

Just the time to browse the album that has just won WPPI (the Oscar of wedding photography), and I find myself in a hypnotic state, touching a fine art album on cotton paper : there is no image able to offer similar feelings from a personal computer screen…

We go back, down to the ground floor and we enter the production department. You may imagine it like messy and noisy environment, with heaps of leather and the buzz of hundreds of people working… instead entering here is like entering in a library…

Everything is in place, everything is well-ordered, people work composed: but don’t get me wrong, you will never breath the air of a nazi-lager, I only see focused and calm faces. It will be the nature of these people, it will be the imprint by those who lead the company, but the only thing that pops into my mind is : these people are happy to do what they do.

The work is made of technology and obsessive attention to detail and Francesco explains how the printing lines are subjected to color measurements every 30 minutes.

color quality check in Graphistudio

We move a few steps to find ourselves in front of the main reason of our visit this year: the Canon Dreamlabo 5000. The installation of this machine has changed it all, and in short it will globally change the way photo are printed : the advent of the HD print era.

After decades of chemical prints (and resulting special waste to be disposed of), Graphistudio is now able to print with a density and a color depth, unimaginable for the standard chimical print, producing a minimal amount of water-based waste (our children and our environment rejoyce). Since the beginning of 2015, we make wedding album printed at 2400 dots per inch (instead of 300), using 7 inks instead of the usual 4: translated in simple terms, it means more definition and details on the paper and even more faithful color.

To give an example that perhaps will be understood by all, the advent of DreamLabo and HD print stands to chemical print as the analog television stands to the Blueray disc.

Married couples we presented the new solution, had no hesitation in selecting HD prints, for the lasting memory of their emotions. Compared to HD prints, chemical photo prints now appear as products of our grandparents …

Canon DreamLabo 5000

But work in Graphistudio is not just about machines and technology, but it’s especially about people, with their experience and their crafts. At the side of DreamLabo, printed book blocks rest for a few days, as wine awaits in cellar its maturation,  once glued book blocks are checked one by one, to grant our brides a manufact able to preserve images of their best day for generations to come.

book blocks

Each album has its own unique history. Everything starts from the first meeting, then come our shots and their layout, to finally get on a bench in Graphistudio where a master artisan,  will craft each cover and the box, leading to the final delivery to any of our brides.

happy artisan from graphistudio

In the evening we spent a pleasant dinner with Francesco, on the road that lead to Pielungo, in the direction of the Ceconi Castle, home of all the photographers. The Castle welcomes us like a fairy tale from another era. It is not just a representative office, it is a living image of Graphistudio spirit : here we discuss new ideas and new projects, here seminars and training workshops are held, till late nigh there we remain to talk about marketing strategies, about brides and weddings.

It is 02:00am and we are still discussing with Francesco of albums, new materials, web promotion and customer management. Lorenzo, amused says “I did not think you could talk about wedding albums for more than 16 consecutive hours …”

Day 2. “The Pope’s blessing”

dawn at the ceconi castle

Despite having slept only four hours, I set the alarm on 7:00am, in order to take some pictures of the Castle at sunrise. Francesco awaits us underground to consume a nice but sleepy breakfast, to get back in the car  on our way to Arba, for today event.

We joke with Francesco about this appointment: “once back in Graphu, you will receive the blessing of the Pope and then you will be free to go in peace …”

We sit at a desk and a few minutes later comes Tullio Tramontina, founder and CEO of Graphistudio, and with him we begin a long chat about what was, what is and what tomorrow will probably be, wedding photography and printing of album.

tullio tramontina

Now well told, it seems trivial, but can you imagine a CEO of such a big company, friendly sitting for nearly two hours, talking to one out of more than 50,000 customers they got?

Once more “those guys from Pordenone”, are different from any others, or maybe they are crazy …

Tullio has a lifetime of stories to share: he tells me of a hundred cigarettes he smoked in the mid-eighties in front of an HP printer, in a desperate attempt to have it print out the first silk cover in the history of wedding albums. Needless to say the next day in Milan it would be an unprecedented success.

He tells me of the face of the Japanese engineers from Canon, and their vice president, when they were told Graphistudio would have purchase a DreamLabo printer only if it would be able to print on 100% cellulose paper.
He tells me about the many new products they are planning to launch, from the GoBook to Matted Prints, to the HD prints on fine art paper.

At the end of these two days, I’m overwhelmed but one thing from these people will indelibly remain on me: passion.

You need sweat and tears, but in the end what are dreams made of, if not passion?
Graphistudio is the factory of dreams, is “Made in Italy” and first of all, is “Made with Love”.

In 2016 I will definitely be back to visit Graphistudio, and once again I will feel: at home.

Maurizio Mannini

NB: there is no commercial connection between SenzaPosa and Graphistudio and I would like to clarify that what is written and described in this article, is not the result of any fees or agreement with Graphistudio.

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