Thursday, July 25, 2013

Frank Cancian's Lacedonia 1957

Flash back to my early days of discovery here in Calitri (the early 2000s) when still freelancing as a Photo Director in the US and I recall the first time I found Frank Cancian's Fulbright funded images of the town of Lacedonia by chance after a Google search of the little known Alta Irpinia area ... I was struck at first glance not only by their photo-journalistic power, the faces and postures captured then still read on most locals today, but by the very soul these images conveyed. The soul of body, and place - a place so remote as to be un-discoverable on any travel map ... I contacted him immediately, and we have remained friends ever since.

Fast forward a dozen years, with me now living and teaching full time in that remote Alta Irpinia, an email from Prof Frank confirms from out of the blue, that the wistful dream we had of putting up a show of his images, images that had been stored away for over 50 years, and only just rediscovered he explains, by another chance Google search, would soon be exhibited by Lacedonia's ProLoco - 


Since that email, I have had the pleasure and honor of collaborating with Professor Frank Cancian to bring this book to light.

 'Lacedonia, An Italian Town, 1957' designed by Doug da Silva, first printing by Delta3, will coincide with a vernissage of his black and white images on the evening of August 8th in the Piazza directly in front of the Pro Loco “G. Chicone” of Lacedonia, the very place where many of his images were composed some 56 years ago. 

We did not do it alone ... there are informed and historical essays by Professors Rocco Pignatiello and Cancian, as well as by Bisaccian writer and poet Franco Arminio, and the magical story of how one image newly discovered by native Lacedonian born Photographer Gerardo Ruggiero during the blizzard of 2012 made it all happen ... the town may even open an ethnographic museum with Cancian's images as a permanent installation, some time next year. 
Congratulations Frank!
Cancian in Lacedonia, 1957

'You need a village if only for the pleasure of leaving it. Your own village means that you’re not alone, that you know there’s something of you in the people and the plants and the soil, that even when you are not there it waits to welcome you. But it isn't easy not to be restless there.'  
Cesare Pavese, The Moon and the Bonfires

Newly covered here by Laura E. Ruberto