In 2007, I published a book of Polaroid Emulsion Transfers all produced between 2004-2006. They represented my response to a city that had greatly moved me. I was hoping that in these images, I had captured something essential about the city of Florence, its genius loci. The book that emerged from this body of work brought together my images with excerpts from texts that various writers and poets, critics and philosophers had written about their significant encounters with the same city. Many books, especially about Florence, combine photographs and quotations, so I imagine that the concept per se might strike you as trite.
I worked together with two Florentine friends, Andrea Burzi and Susanna Sarti, who researched and found a great variety of texts to work with, written for example by Camus, Dickens, James, Brodsky, Luzi, Calamandrei and so many more. We did not want the collaboration of image and text to be illustrative or repetitive in either direction. We hoped for echoes across the pages and we found them!
The images were not produced with specific citations in mind, nor were citations found for specific images. We had a body of each and then we looked for echoes and correspondences. That we found so many gives me hope that there is something essential about Florence in this book. If I, in the 21st century, found so many of the same qualities and emotions that writers from many countries and other centuries also found, is that not Florence?
Here is an example that gives an idea of how images and text relate:
In Pictures from Italy, Charles Dickens had written:
Magnificently stern and somber are the streets of beautiful Florence; and the strong old piles of buildings make such heaps of shadow, on the ground [and in the river] that there is another and a different city of rich forms and fancies always lying at our feet.
That's how it worked. (You can still find the book on Amazon).