It’s started in this way, a Sunday morning at Porta Portese, the Rome flea market. As usual, I was looking for vintage clothes, when by chance I saw a box of old photos. Images from some unknown attic, taken in Italy from the 1940s to the 60s. Mismatched jigsaw pieces of anonymous lifes.
Different eras appeared through the faces, the dresses, the cities, through every detail of those pictures. Little glimpses documenting the past, often, more than the author photos, where the presence of photographer is usually very cumbersome and less spontaneous.
But those images were not only an unique bottom-up testimony of old times. They were also full of timeless emotions. Each one was simultaneously a discovery and a loss, an access to a history impossible to know. Emerged fragments of mysterious existences.
It was a coup de foudre. Since then I have not stopped looking everywhere for old photos, taken in different places and at different times, from the late nineteenth century to the 60s of the twentieth century, sometimes already in private collections, sometimes found by chance.
In this age – of mechanical reproducibility, more than ever – these vintage prints, although anonymous, are unique exemplars: there are no negatives, or other copies of them. Furthermore, there is an editing work to value and, sometimes, to combine them in series.
A partial result of my research can be seen at this website, where I have collected and cataloged only a little selection of images.
[ Monica ]