A Stranger in Lugo

While watching Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, many things struck me; chief among them was the silence of the northern Italian landscape. In contrast to the film’s pastel hue, Max Richard Gavrich’s “Estraneo” provides an equally quiet and serene look at Lugo, another town in northern Italy. Starting with a triptych of an apartment building, Mr. Gavrich shows us, in what feels like film stills, a view of a building with three different figures interacting with the space. The first is of a woman hanging clothes out to dry, the second is of a boy beautifully framed in darkness, and third is of a man walking a dog that wants to go the opposite direction as its owner. Perhaps it is easy for someone like myself, who has never been to Italy, to view these images as film stills but I believe this is a testament to the photographer’s patience. Whether it is two men carrying a futon whose form mirrors the building that they are under or a dog captured mid bark in a street side yard, Mr. Gavrich is able to frame everyday moments within a larger composition that remains clean and minimal. The fact that these images were produced with a large format camera makes them all the more mystifying.

An artist that clearly enjoys the conversation that two or three images have with each other, Mr. Gavrich places three images together that each have a male figure in the center, yet one is a silhouette of a catholic bishop, the second is an older man enclosed in greenery, while the third is of a man whose face in the shadow of a door frame as his belly and apartment building are drowned with direct sunlight. One can sit with each individual image and notice the precise nature of the frame, which encloses so much to simply look at and notice. The built and natural landscapes with help from the piercing light are all in conversation with each other in every frame while the images are able to be arranged in such a way that the project is greatly enhanced by successful sequencing.

This project and book by the same name was made as a result of the Bard Lugo Land Residency in collaboration with Edizioni del Bradipo.  

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