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fotografiaFotografia published by Gruppo Editoriale Domus was a very special Italian photobook for a few reasons. It was published during the height of the Second World War in 1943, and it was the first comprehensive Italian Collective photo book showing the influence of modernism in photography in Italy as opposed to the pictorialism style so entrenched in the preceding decades.

Some efforts into another type of photography by Arturo Bragaglia one of the Futurist Movement artists not withstanding, little had been done to show what was achieved in modern photography in Italy on a large scale until this book came out.

It is a seminal historic publication, printed on relatively poor quality paper, and has an Italian and German text. It was designed with the help of Albe Steiner who became, besides a Resistance hero, a leading graphic artist and teacher from the late 40’s through the 60’s. I suspect, it also was his first photobook, but cannot be a 100% sure of this.

The book is a “Who’s Who” of major photographers of the period. It is primarily in black and white with some color photographs as well. Fotografia covers all the styles of photography from “artistic” and “business” to avant-garde. The photographers ran the gamut from Gabrielle Mucchi, the architect/designer and painter, to Carlo Mollino the “heretic” architect who later became known for his “erotic Polaroids“, Luigi Veronesi with his Bauhaus inspired “photograms“, and many others like Antonio Boggeri the head of the most modern advertising agency at the time.

fotografia pageThe debut of this book came at a crucial time for Italy’s artists during the difficult war years. It was published by Gruppo Editoriale Domus, the design oriented publishing house in Italy, known for publishing the Domus Magazine, whose Editor was Gio PontiPonti left earlier to start a publication named STILE, a similar type magazine.The book is hardbound 35 cms. H x 23 cms. W (13.75″x 9″) with 226 numbered pages and an index of all photographers.