TABLE OF CONTENTS

books

the collected essays of Luigi Ghirri

Luigi Ghirri, Tellaro, 1980, C-print, 9 7/8 × 15". From the series “Topographie-Iconographie,” 1978–81. © Estate of Luigi Ghirri.

The Complete Essays 1973–1991, by Luigi Ghirri; edited by Michael Mack and Izabella Scott; translated by Ben Bazalgette and Marguerite Shore. London: MACK, 2016. 239 pages.

IS IT PARADOXICAL for a photographer to resent modernity? Perhaps, and yet the late Italian marvel Luigi Ghirri (1943–1992) sometimes did, or so he implied. In a newspaper column from 1989, he recounts one of his frequent driving excursions in Emilia-Romagna, a region thick with the then rapidly industrializing rural vistas that populate many of his images. He ruminates on the high-tension wires threading the roads between the quiet towns, wondering “what we’re supposed to do with all this electricity,” which seems to him extravagant. His impression of technological surfeit is confirmed that evening, when he attends a Prince concert in a local stadium festooned with spotlights, a flash-filled, “miserable”

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