We were asked to look for a photo book that related to human presence during the easter break to bring back to uni for a class photo book club meeting. I found my photo book ‘Milano’ in an oxfam charity book shop, when I flicked through the pages of images I became quite interested in them. It was quite hard to understand as most of the writing is in in Italian and then only a few long pages of english, so I decided to get the book and read into it more at home.

I tried to research the book online but really couldn’t find anything to do with it or that much to do with the photographer either. The book is written by Gianni Brera and all the photograph are taken by Enzo Pifferi. The images in this book were all shot in the year of 1976.

The first few sentences in the english pages of the book read;

‘el nost milan

profile of a love

For female Italy, all towns are female. So, my first dutiful act of love is to reaffirm Milan’s masculinity. Its name is of Germanic-Celtic origin and means land of the middle, Midland, hence Milan. During its last long lasting history, it never had been a female town, but an extremely viril life centre; a safe landing place, a base gradually equipped to give hospitality to men of North European fibre.’

After reading this small bit of text and then looking through some of the images that the photographer took it came across as him trying to show the more masculine side to Milan and not the beautiful city everyone paints a picture off. He seemed to photograph the older parts of Milan, such as broken down houses, graffiti on river banks, people hanging their clothes on string outside their houses.

The way the photographs are set out are not really in any particular order, well not that I can see. It does start of with some nicer pictures of Milan and then goes onto photographs you wouldn’t really associate with the city. Some photographs are black and white and some in colour. I think the way the photographer chose to put in black and white images makes you look at them even more to see how dilapidated the images really are. The colour ones you can automatically tell it is in a European country where as the black and white images you would have to look at them for a while to then guess where the image was taken.

Overall I really liked this photo book, I found the images really interesting and did take quite a lot of time to look at them. I think the way it showed human presence was the way it showed human traces throughout the book, i.e clothes hanging up, cars, bikes, small objects and so on. It also had human in the images too which of course show human presence in the literal form. I would definitely recommend this book to people as some of the images are truly great.


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