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Italy – As we move through Italy, Giles Norman extracts moments of life for us to share. A country of many faces and shapes, we are nonetheless offered a distinct taste of what it is that makes this country just so unique. Whether photographing a narrow street in the oldest part of Florence, or the slow progress of boats on the canals of Venice these images provide us with both familiar and unfamiliar reference points. Images of mooring posts and silhouetted gondolas, domes and campaniles, and of bridges and balconies leave us in no doubt as to why Italy is home to so many fashion houses and art collections. A land with an enormous diversity of customs and characteristics – yet there is something about it that is always Italian. And Giles Norman has recognised that simple fact and allows us to share in it. 

“I have always found beauty in decay, abandoned boats leaning into the land, long forgotten lobster pots with their labour unravelled and derelict cottages crumbling in the shadows of their pebble-glazed replacements. I love the way in which the colours and shapes of neglect reflect their history into black and white photography. Visiting Italy is to be in the heart of decaying beauty, it’s past cracking and peeling, like canvasses of Carravaggios. Often photographs need to abstract shapes and shadow architecture to find their beauty. In Italy there is no need for this, for the beauty is already there, only to be replicated not recreated. Every corner turned is the beginning of a new focus, every bridge crossed the start of a new shutter storm.”

Giles Norman