© Aperture Foundation, Inc., Paul Strand Archive, 2022


Tailor’s Apprentice, Luzzara, Italy
Paul Strand
Gelatin silver print on baryta paper
Printed area size: 28,1 × 22,5 cm
Paper size: 29,4 × 23,8 cm
Born: Nueva York, 1890
Died: Orgeval, Francia, 1976
Italy (1952-1954) (Paul Strand)

© Aperture Foundation, Inc., Paul Strand Archive, 2022


Following the format he established in Time in New England (1950) and continued in La France de Profil [France in Profile], Paul Strand published Un Paese: Portrait of an Italian Village with prestigious publishers Giulio Einaudi from Turin which included texts by the Italian writer Cesare Zavattini. In contrast to prior projects, in Un Paese there was no trip or journey, but instead the depiction of daily life in Luzzara, a small municipality in the Po Valley where Zavattini was born. Strand spent two months there, getting to know the landscape and living alongside the people who were portrayed in the book.

Tailor’s Apprentice is a beautiful demonstration of Strand’s understanding realism. In a lecture on the subject given in Perugia in 1949—which included references to Italian Neo-realism— Strand explained how, for him, realism entailed a dynamic approach to a changing world. Likewise, he confessed his admiration for the lack of camera movement in Neo-realism and the ease of its locations, enabling the genre to capture the complete sensorial richness—textures, sounds, movements—of vital environments. A sensorial richness is a key feature in the portrait of the tailor’s apprentice. The simplicity of its composition—the apprentice’s white face, black dress, and large hat—accentuates the ambiguity of the girl’s expression, youthful and proud, while contrasting with the material richness of the old wall behind her.


© Aperture Foundation, Inc., Paul Strand Archive, 2022

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