Spotlight: Photobook

1994 – 2001: A beginning

© Lorenzo Castore

"It is about how a boy became a young man — how he discovered brotherhood and the world," says Lorenzo Castore as he reveals the first volume of his life-long project

For a large part of his career, Lorenzo Castore photographed compulsively, barely reflecting on his archive. “I was restless, I wanted to photograph everything to find my place,” he says, “I thought I could continue this way, because I was young and felt that like my photographs, I was immortal.” In 2011, Castore’s best friend unexpectedly passed away. “It made me consider a lot,” he reflects, “in that moment, I decided to go back to my archives”.

19942001 | A BEGINNING is the first volume of the Italian photographer’s ambitious life-long project. Each volume will be bookended by significant life events, which Castore hopes to continue until his death.

© Lorenzo Castore
© Lorenzo Castore

“This volume is about how a boy became a young man ⁠— how he discovered brotherhood and the world,” says Castore, who began making photographs in 1992 when he was living in New York City and working as a waiter. Aged 19 and unable to get into any bars, he spent a lot of his spare time taking photographs on the street. Back in Italy, he discovered Josef Koudelka’s celebrated series, Exiles, at a gallery in Florence. Moved by these images, Castore began to take his own photography more seriously, and, in 1994, he made what he considers to be his first “good photograph”: the self-portrait on the first page of his new book.

Castore’s early photographs trace his travels through the US, Albania, Poland and India ⁠— carefully composed images that often play with double exposure and chance reflections. But, Castore does not want the images to be viewed solely in terms of his life story. “I would prefer to consider it as our life story,” he says. “It was important for me to try to speak about something that is personal, but at the same time universal.”

The book ends in 2001, when a series of new encounters led Castore into a new phase of his photographic career. He met Grazia Neri, the founder of Italy’s first photo agency, Christian Caujolle, Anders Petersen, Stanley Greene, and Michael Ackerman, among other photographers at Agence/Galerie VU, which Castore joined in 2003.

Castore associates these new encounters with the beginning of adulthood, when he “stopped living in a bubble”. The next volume, 2001-2007 | LONGING & LACKING, is already in progress, and due to be published in 2021.

© Lorenzo Castore
© Lorenzo Castore

Details about each image are provided in an insert that accompanies the book. This is a feature that will remain constant in every volume of the series, along with the size and design ⁠—  consistency is an important part of the project. The books are designed by Spanish photobook designer Eloi Gimeno, who passed away in February 2019. The white lines on each cover represent the “line of time”, which will contort and expand as the series progresses.

“In life, you try to fight time, but time will always win,” says Castore. “Somehow with photography we have the possibility to keep something forever. In the end you will not win against time, but some moments will survive.”

1994 2001 | A BEGINNING by Lorenzo Castore is published by L’Artiere. An exhibition of the project is currently on show at Galerie Anne Clergue, Arles, until 07 September, it will then go on show at Galerie Folia, Paris, from 12 September to 26 October

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