Luca Quattrocchi

The Photographs of Federico Pacini


The images appearing alongside the texts in the current issue of This Century’s Review are the work of the Tuscan photographer Federico Pacini. At first glance they seem to be random snippets of normal everyday life, shabby, even. The intention of these representations is not, however, to celebrate the beauty of banality (and even less so the banality of beauty). They are simply chronicling a banality that exists around us, and which we cannot banish just because we wish to it. It is a banality which is as much a part of us it is of our field of vision.

The gaze of Pacini, which draws on masters such as Steven Shore and Martin Parr, is neither cold nor condemnatory. Ostensibly the distracted glance of the flàneur, it is in reality attentive and empathetic. This is especially the case when this gaze is focused on what has been neglected, rejected, or abandoned, as in the beautiful photographs portraying the former psychiatric hospital in Volterra, between Pisa and Siena.

Spaces and objects do not forge. Because spaces and objects constitute our own image - an image constructed by us – one can trace our stories not only in the peeling away of their layers, but also in the evidence of their present condition. Just as the texts collected in this issue of TCR, things also tell us the stories. They tell us their tales using a different languages, an eloquent language consisting of silent words.

Luca Quattrocchi