Davies + Starr

A filmmaker documents five years spent in Italy with 75 dramatic slice-of-life portraits.

August 12, 2009

Douglas Gayeton invites us to the fields, barns, butcher shops, and dinner tables where he learned how to live and eat in the Tuscan countryside. Inspired by pre-Renaissance narrative paintings, the filmmaker stitched together dozens of evocative, large-format sepia photographs capturing scenes of daily rural life in Pistoia. He then etched them with marginalia and centuries-old Tuscan proverbs pronounced proudly by his friends and neighbors: All or nothing; Everyone must know their place; Better to spend money at the butcher than the pharmacist. “When I began to understand the sayings,” he says, “I began to understand the culture.” His sumptuous chronicle leaves us hungry for more. Welcome Books; welcomebooks.com; $50.

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