Italian treasure

Posted in narrative photography, Photobooks (general) by Alec Soth on February 7, 2010

I’m back from the Italian leg of the Little Brown Mushroom World Tour (next stop: Lincoln, Nebraska). I was hoping to track down some vintage fotoromanzi, but didn’t have enough time. Nonetheless, I still picked up a couple of treasures. I spent most of my time in Milan with the curator Francesco Zanot. Francesco is a raving book nut and, at only thirty years of age, one of the most knowledgeable and exciting photo curators I’ve met. Francesco gave me a copy of Vedove/Widows, a book he recently produced with Takashi Homma (more info here).

At a signing at the excellent Mi Camera Bookstore, I’m embarrassed to report that I bought more books than I signed. After some frantic browsing of the shelves, I discovered the flat files behind the front counter where they keep the little vintage books and ephemera. Treasure trove!

Followers of this blog know that I have a keen interest in narrative photo books. In the flat files I found a truly stellar example by Franco Vaccari. I’ve been curious about Vaccari since picking up a survey of his work, Exhibitions in Real Time, last year. Vaccari is a conceptual photographer that Francesco Zanot accurately described as ‘the Italian Baldessari.’ But what I love about the book I found in the flat file is that it isn’t a conceptual or performance exercise. This sweet, staple-bound booklet, Viaggio sul Reno, Settembre 1974, is nothing more than a travelog. But the text is funny, lyrical and works with the images extraordinarily well:

See the whole book here.

5 Responses

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  1. little round muskrat said, on February 7, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Franco Rocks !

  2. bob black said, on February 7, 2010 at 4:02 pm


    was never jealous of u Alec, until LittlebrownMushroom began…and then i discovered your damn book collection….and how much/many books u get to pick up…..your magical and nimble book collecting fingers just kill me…:)

    i got to tootle u vigorously for this brilliant find šŸ™‚

    damn you! šŸ˜‰


  3. JR said, on February 7, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    When’s the Lincoln thing and what’s on the itinerary?

    Lawrence KS

  4. LBM said, on February 7, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Here you go JR:

  5. Doug Stockdale said, on March 3, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks for the pointer to MiCamera, which I just linked up on the resource page of The PhotoBook. and I happen to be spending a lot of time now in Roma, not Milano, dang! Hope to get up that way this September….meanwhile, made a nice connection in Roma with Marco Delogu, publisher of Punctum Press. nice.

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