Marina Giannobi takes pictures of frames of mind. But she does not draw inspiration from people's attitudes, nor from their portraits or expressions. She borrows moods, excitement, yearnings, instincts, joys and sorrows from the urban landscape, capturing those emotions that may be glimpsed, at least for an instant, in certain city quarters, in some places, at certain junctions. Giannobi imbues her photographs with character and a liberal dash of mystery, and she achieves this without recourse to toning or predominant colours, or even computer tricks. Rather, she waits for the atmosphere to become poignant, waits until she feels the right energy wafting in the air, and then clicks the shutter, playing exclusively on the shutter and f-stop settings. Who knows how, who knows why - in reality the how and the why obviously ought to be explicable, but the intangibility of her pictures projects them into a kind of limbo half way between truth and pure imagination, just as in certain dreamlike and visionary films. Imprisoned within her camera is precisely that element that invariably escapes the mechanical or electronic eye in metropolitan panoramas, skylines and cutaway views: the sense of the place, the reason why that exact spot seems to have benign or malign influences on those who frequent it, as if imbued with some sort of blessing or curse. This artist does not point her lens at the mosques of al-Haram al-Shariff (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem or at the Buddha Caves of Pindaya in Myanmar (Burma), she does not immortalise the Ayers Rock of the Aborigines or the ghats at Pushkar that lead down to a putrid consecrated lake. No, her interest is often focused on the coldest and apparently least expressive forms of hi-tech, on futuristic standardised glass-and-concrete architecture devoid of sanctity, on the generalist style and lines of leisure spots and meeting places - and yet she always manages to capture a magic aura that illuminates and characterises these settings, a magnetic power that impels people to meet right at that position. It is as if Giannobi's camera had a kind of infrared vision: its lenses peer at the same places as all the other cameras, and yet something remains on the exposed film, or in the microchip, that other instruments had not perceived: the warmth emanating from the place, a deep sense of a pulsating, summoning, attracting, inviting world.

For Giannobi the colour of the warmth of the world does not have to be yellow or red. It can also look blue, violet, red or lilac; it may even have the silvery tones of metal or the dazzling white glare of direct light. It is as if the landscape and the metropolis were emerging out of the mantle that the sun, the rain and the smog lay upon them. Depending on the predominant colour – which, it is worth repeating, is never forced but always natural – the colour captured by the photograph may become positive or negative energy, intoxicating or dysphasic, withering or relaxing. It can tell the secret tale of the city and or that junction. As this unknown and perhaps unconscious perspective of the place and of public life interests the photographer, she never aims her viewfinder at picture-postcard panoramas, at perfect buildings or travel-magazine vistas. Instead her camera invariably seeks one of those meeting places that, without having any obvious appeal, without being a symbol or icon of the place, nevertheless takes on a leading role in influencing the behaviour of those who live in the neighbourhood, having a magnetic power, attracting or repulsing those who gravitate in the area. A bar, a discothèque, a small square, even a bench or a strip of metropolitan park are bathed in the infinite, if you will forgive the allusion to the lyrics of Ungaretti (the Italian poet). They are nothing, they could vanish without leaving a trace on the face of the Earth and soon be forgotten - unlike the Afghan Buddhas, the American Twin Towers, or the Iranian Arg-e-Bam – and yet, at the moment when Giannobi takes her picture, in that instant when the shutter clicks, they are effectively the energy pole of the planet, a sensational apparition, a volcano in full blast. Not a volcano of fire and flames, as we have already made clear, but one capable of making ice erupt, or producing lilac air, surprising and transfixing emotions; a volcano that might astonish us or freeze us. The artist's world is perhaps a glacial world in eruption.

New York, the central theme of the latest series of works, is viewed from a perspective that looks beyond its obvious, predictable iconography. Or rather, if we want to be precise and paradoxical, it is portrayed in the midst of its obvious, predictable iconography. Despite Harlem and Chelsea, the Bronx and the skyscrapers, the McDonald’s and the Starbucks, Moma and Radio City Music Hall, what is really striking about the Big Apple is in fact its enterprising spirit, its dash, the electricity that runs in its arteries - in practice its inability to stand still and get caught in a phrase, a picture or a snatch of music. And Giannobi abducts precisely this mundane standpoint, this cliché, this popular conception handed on from friend to friend. She does not take pictures of Fifth Av. or of Broadway, in Central Park or in Brooklyn, but rather in those spots, in those neighbourhoods, where life is real, where the behaviour and habits of people make Manhattan and its vicinity what they are: in front of the bars, the super-markets, the entertainment rooms where its energy becomes tangible and vibrates in the air. Giannobi's New York is a sort of accurate representation, but without the smoke (albeit choked with fumes), of the city of Smoke narrated by Paul Auster and Wayne Wang. It is a city whose story is told unhurriedly and without predicable choices, silent but splendid, a story of suburbia yet charged with the lifeblood of the whole universe. Like the American film director and writer, the Italian artist too sometimes makes haphazard choices, seeking an example within the insignificant, stacking her chips on this open structure in constant evolution where nothing is consequential and where the kernel of the matter may be found in forgotten places. Every story, every sinuous recess, every personality might, by mistake or by choice, end up in a photograph, and might reveal the unfolding of events without disclosing anything about itself, himself or herself. Vibrating and exhausting itself with the energy of the world, of the whole world, focused for one instant right in that spot.