Ning Kai & Sabrina Scarpa

Editorial Ning Kai & Sabrina Scarpa

© Ning Kai & Sabrina Scarpa

“We take inspiration from the changing of the seasons and the poignancy of their ephemerality. Through it, we find fundamental truths about the nature of human experience and the interconnectedness of all living things.  

 


─── by Josh Bright, April 22, 2024
  • Photography encapsulates both transience and permanence—freezing a singular, fleeting moment in time, one that will never occur again, and preserving it eternally. 


    This is at the heart of what Ning Kai and Sabrina Scarpa do. The Sino-Dutch visual artists, partners in both life and work, create captivating imagery that conveys the beauty, spirituality, and temporality of nature.


    “Every memorable moment is captured in the photographs, each holding equal significance. They are the footprints of our journey.”


    The pair met in 2013. Both had discovered their passion for photography just a few years earlier—Ning after purchasing his first analog camera, while Sabrina, studying graphic design, was inspired to switch her major to photography. Their meeting would transform their practices, merging them into one.

    The duo’s creative relationship is rooted in their appreciation of the natural world. Their images portray beautiful, transient moments captured in nature: sunlight glistening off lake waters, a flock of birds creating patterns in the sky, ethereal cloud formations.


    Their images stand alone, numbered, but free from captions or contextual anchors. Viewers are invited to explore without preconceived narratives, fostering an open space for personal interpretations to unfold organically.

    “Sometimes, the less we know, the more we see and discover, which can lead to a deeper understanding of its universality, and therefore, of life itself.”


    Light forms the core of every photograph, yet today, its true power is often overlooked. However, for Ning and Sabrina, it remains the cornerstone of their artistry, its ever-shifting quality gives rise to completely unique moments.

    Influenced by Impressionism, a movement steeped in the appreciation of light, their images possess the same subtle qualities as the masterpieces crafted by the luminaries of the style. Moreover, they draw inspiration from Asian art, particularly the Japanese Rinpa School, known for its depiction of natural subjects and scenes.


    Key to their images is the printing process. They seek to individualize the photographic print as a unique object, hand printing each one to create tactile, textured imagery that further enhances their beauty and ethereal quality. It also adds to the nostalgic feeling. The images could have been taken almost anytime since the invention of color photography, for what is depicted is entirely unimprinted by the hand of mankind.


    “The tangibility and physical connection is essential to us. It is the slower, and at times, meditative process that manifests a quiet ‘presence’ and breaths a soul into each work. By emphasizing the materiality of the photographs, each print becomes unique, drawing on the value and meaning that craft and tradition have taught us.”


    In our chaotic, constantly moving world, Ning Kai and Sabrina Scarpa invite us to slow down. To take a moment and appreciate the natural world. Their work is an antidote to the saturation of modern life, a kind of visual poetry that calms the mind and demonstrates the enduring power of the still image.

     

      All images © Ning Kai & Sabrina Scarpa