Stillness in Motion: Italy, Photography, and the Meanings of Modernity

Edited by Sarah Patricia Hill and Giuliana Minghelli

© 2014

Stillness in Motion brings together the writing of scholars, theorists, and artists on the uneasy relationship between Italian culture and photography. Highlighting the depth and complexity of the Italian contribution to the technology and practice of photography, this collection offers essays, interviews, and theoretical reflections at the intersection of comparative, visual, and cultural studies. Its chapters, illustrated with more than 130 black and white images and an eight-page colour section, explore how Italian literature, cinema, popular culture, and politics have engaged with the medium of photography over the course of time.

The collection includes topics such as Futurism’s ambivalent relationship to photography, the influence of American photography on Italian neorealist cinema, and the connection between the photograph and Duchamp’s concept of the Readymade. With contributions from writer and theorist Umberto Eco, photographer Franco Vaccari, art historian Robert Valtorta, and cultural historian Robert Lumley, Stillness in Motion engages with crucial historical and cultural moments in Italian history, examining each one through particular photographic practices.

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 384 pages
  • Illustrations: 8
  • Dimensions: 7.2in x 1.3in x 10.1in
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SKU# SP003920

  • PUBLISHED DEC 2014

    From: $65.25

    Regular Price: $87.00

    ISBN 9781442649330
  • PUBLISHED NOV 2014

    From: $65.25

    Regular Price: $87.00

Quick Overview

Stillness in Motion brings together the writing of scholars, theorists, and artists on the uneasy relationship between Italian culture and photography.

Stillness in Motion: Italy, Photography, and the Meanings of Modernity

Edited by Sarah Patricia Hill and Giuliana Minghelli

© 2014

Stillness in Motion brings together the writing of scholars, theorists, and artists on the uneasy relationship between Italian culture and photography. Highlighting the depth and complexity of the Italian contribution to the technology and practice of photography, this collection offers essays, interviews, and theoretical reflections at the intersection of comparative, visual, and cultural studies. Its chapters, illustrated with more than 130 black and white images and an eight-page colour section, explore how Italian literature, cinema, popular culture, and politics have engaged with the medium of photography over the course of time.

The collection includes topics such as Futurism’s ambivalent relationship to photography, the influence of American photography on Italian neorealist cinema, and the connection between the photograph and Duchamp’s concept of the Readymade. With contributions from writer and theorist Umberto Eco, photographer Franco Vaccari, art historian Robert Valtorta, and cultural historian Robert Lumley, Stillness in Motion engages with crucial historical and cultural moments in Italian history, examining each one through particular photographic practices.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 384 pages
  • Illustrations: 8
  • Dimensions: 7.2in x 1.3in x 10.1in
  • Reviews

    “How might Italy's unique, even peculiar, relation to its belated modernization be articulated around the subject of photography in all of its complex cultural, political, social, and personal guises? This extraordinary volume of essays contains multiple answers, as distinguished critics and theorists range from the period of national unification to today. Dazzling in their array of erudite, original, and rigorous insights, and sustained by a judicious and relevant choice of accompanying photographs, the essays come together in this beautifully edited volume to form what is, to my mind, an instant classic.”
    Rebecca West, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Chicago

    Stillness in Motion comes at the right time, when the attention on photography is growing fast in fields such as history of media, cultural studies, and visual culture.”
    Ernesto Livorni, Department of French and Italian, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Author Information

    Sarah Patricia Hill is a senior lecturer in Italian in the School of Languages and Cultures at Victoria University of Wellington



    Giuliana Minghelli is an associate professor of Italian Studies in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at McGill University.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction (Sarah Patricia Hill and Giuliana Minghelli)

    Part One: National Beginnings and Modernist Fears

    1. Photography and the Construction of Italian National Identity (Roberta Valtorta, with Sarah Patricia Hill and Giuliana Minghelli)

    2. Local Colour and the Grey Aura of Modernity: Photography, Literature, and the Social Sciences in Fin-de-Siècle Italy (Maria Grazia Lolla)

    3. Eternal Speed/Omnipresent Immobility: Futurism and Photography (Giuliana Minghelli)

    Part Two: Modern Memory Objects: Social Histories of the Photograph

    4. The Peripatetic Portrait: Exchange and Performance in Migration Photographs at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century (Giorgia Alù)

    5. Presente! The Latent Memory of Italy’s Great War in its Photographic Portraits (Luca Cottini)

    Part Three: Photography and the Acceleration of Modernity: Reality-Commodity-Violence

    6. Italian Neo-Realism between Cinema and Photography (Barbara Grespi)

    7. Photographic Excess: “Scandalous” Photography in Film and Literature after the Boom (Sarah Patricia Hill)

    8. Images of Violence, Violence of Images: The “Years of Lead” and the Practice of Armed Struggle between Photography and Video (Christian Uva)

    Part Four: Critiques of Modernity: Stillness, Motion, and the

    Ethics of Seeing

    9. The Body in and of the Image in the Films of Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi (Robert Lumley)

    10. Intersections of Photography, Writing, and Landscape: The Italian Landscape Photobook from Ghirri to Fossati and Messori (Marina Spunta)

    Part Five: Documents and Experiences

    11. A Photograph (Umberto Eco)

    12. Essays: Photography and the Ready-Made and Apollo and Daphne: A Myth for Photography (Franco Vaccari); Interview with Franco Vaccari (Giuliana Minghelli)

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