Pino Musi is an excellent photographer of architecture, who reminds me the great talented Gabriele Basilico. The work published in this book is the result of an artist’s residence at the Gwinzegal editions in Guingamp, Côtes d’Armor, in 2016.
Côtes d’Armor is a department located in the north of Brittany, in the west of France. This territory is essentially agricultural and is unfortunately far well known for the excesses of Breton intensive farming, generating toxic algae that force the closure of certain beaches. For years, unions and banks have pushed young farmers under pressure of loans, leading them into the dead end of intensive farming, but this would be the subject of another debate.
Farmers are considered the first landscape shapers and Pino Musi discovers this territory with modesty. He is interested in anthropization with the evolution of the building, from the usual constructions made of corrugated iron, traditional architecture made of granite, to the more recent development of the housing estates. Pino walks through the Breton countryside and looks at what surrounds him, stops photographing a barn, two cows grazing beside an electric pylon; each photo helps us to rediscover what could make the charm of this area, what we no longer look at.
Throughout the pages, we also discover the seasonal traditions, silage, fermentation… but we also discover the evolution of the society of the rural world, with its aspirations to modernity. The new constructions are closed to the old ones, the granite gives way to concrete, glass, metal, roads develop, in short, society is accelerating, and agriculture do the same.
The black and white photographs are simply sublime, the light is perfect and the composition accurate to the millimeter, there is a heavy work with post-production and Pino Musi likes that his images offer a wide palette of grays going from deep black to bright white (which unfortunately has become quite rare in many recent publications). In his images, Pino Musi transforms the banality into sublime and this book is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful books published in the year 2017.
The cover of the book is green, a very beautiful green, the green of Breton fields lit by the light after the rain, in a translucent atmosphere that exhales the colors. It is also the designation of a field, as indicated by the title of the book “Acre”, which traditionally designated the field with the bocage surface corresponding to two days of work with an ox. From every detail, the whole book is a tribute to this traditional agriculture.
Just as in the seventies with the New Topographics, Pino Musi reveals here the photogenic quality of a place. These territories, linked to certain practices, are decried, but it is possible that Pino Musi reveals here the beauty of this anthropization, and then we might think that this photographs may have pedagogical purposes, as a way of reminding us that farmers are the first landscapers and why it is important to re-establish a dialogue with them.
Softcover book published in 2017 by Editions Gwinzegal. Swiss binding, 24 x 32 cm, 112 pages, 59 black and white photos.
“Photobook of the Month” is curated by Christer Ek (Christophe Le Toquin) of “Who needs another photo blog“, a blog where he shares some thoughts about photography. Christer is a French photographer and also a photobook collector.