Life in a Tuscan Town
Welcome Books, Hardcover, 9781599620725, 176pp.
Publication Date: September 29, 2009
With an anecdotal charm reminiscent of Peter Mayle's "A Year in Provence," Douglas Gayeton's interplay of pictures and words conveys a thrilling narrative that transports you halfway around the globe to the charming town of Pistoia, nestled in the outskirts of Florence. There we meet the mushroom hunters and sheep farmers, the winemakers and fishermen, the bakers, butchers and chocolate makers whose lives are profoundly bound to the rhythms of nature. It is a riveting story told in a riveting way: each image comprised of multiple photographs taken over a period of time that can range anywhere from ten minutes to several hours, and layered with Gayeton's handwritten notes, recipes, facts, and sayings. With this process, Gayeton has managed to introduce the concept of story and time; both compressed and exploded, into his portraits. The result is a photographic approach critics have dubbed flat film; the effect is exhilarating.
As Gayeton observes, "What my eyes saw was always grander than any lens could capture...How could I introduce the presence of time, of an emerging and evolving story comprised of not one, but many moments, into a single photograph?" In the accompanying text, Gayeton offers an absorbing first person account of his immersion into rural Italian culture, offering an intimacy that draws us deeper into this romantic and rustic world. A photographer, a pioneering new media creator, a wonderful writer and an award winning documentarian, Gayeton is passionately interested in food, culture, art, and people.
Janet Fletcher is a Bay Area-based cookbook author.
Carlo Petrini, born in the small northern Italian town of Bra in 1949, is the founder and international president of the Slow Food movement, committed to the promotion of "good, clean and fair food." The author of several books, he contributes regularly to Italian dailies and magazines on matters related to gastronomy and food politics. To write Terra Madre, he collaborated closely with Carlo Bogliotti, an editor of the Slowfood magazine and governor of the Slow Food Italy association.
"An ideal addition to any coffee-table book collection, this tome features gorgeous sepia-tone photographs and evocative writing that take readers on a journey through Tuscany by way of food."
--Hamptons Magazine, Marissa Bienstock
"You find yourself fully immersed, taking in all the interconnected moments of life that have been compressed into the image, and above all else, slowing down. And by this feat the book perfectly communicates and exemplifies the Slow Food movement that this region birthed...It is a wonderful celebration of a lifestyle that links the food we eat with the community in which we live."
--Black and White Magazine
"With a combination of arresting portraits and personal handwritten anecdotes from his journey through the heart of Tuscany, Gayeton has created a charming and riveting story: a ‘flat film’ that celebrates the principles of the Slow Food movement and the people whose lives are devoted to growing, preparing and eating food. A beautiful addition to your coffee table."
--Ensemble Vacations Magazine
"At first glance, this photographic gallery of daily life in Pistoia may be mistaken for a journey back in time. The sepia-toned photographs of rural people tending a vineyard or a chicken or a hand of cards, of local butchers and cheese makers, tell the story of artist and filmmaker Gayeton's journey forward into a community still connected to its land...Gayeton expresses and celebrates the intimacy of that relationship with his stunning photographs that are artfully annotated in playful script, making each photograph a story of its own."
"In an absorbing culinary and cultural journey, well-known photographer and multi-media artist Douglas Gayeton illustrates the underlying essence of the slow-food movement and the authentic nature of domestic Italian life...rich and compelling."
"There are two kinds of food books - those that take on a sauce-splattered patina and a permanent place above the stove, and those that sit on the coffee table, a visual reminder to guests that their host is serious about food. SLOW is a definitely among the latter, although it stands out primarily because it's impossible to blithely flip through."
--Time Out Chicago
--Food and Wine
"Gayeton's insightful pictures form a timeline and tell a story more effectively than any single photograph could do...The images are made even more powerful and memorable through the author's moving often amusing anectodal essays and the captions, quotes, commentary, and recipes that are hand-scrawled on the photos."
"Remarkable...After reading and looking through this book, you may want to give serious thought to heading for Tuscany."
"Douglas Gayeton's Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town is pornography for the Heat-reading set. It is the Slow Food movement brought to art."
--Rosecrans Baldwin, The Morning News
"Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town is a pictorial narrative of Pistoia and its inhabitants that seeks to explain the Slow Food movement in photographs and marginalia, playfully, even fancifully, like a modern illuminated manuscript."
"If you love beautiful books, Slow: Life in A Tuscan Country by Douglas Gayeton will be irresistible...This is both a personal narrative and one that - as great art must do - transcends and transforms the specific experiences portrayed. Spectacular."
-Davd Wilk, WristersCast.com
"Gradually revealing insight into a more organic way of living, Gayeton's rich fusion and layering of images pulls us into a fascinating culinary and cultural journey."
--Photo Life magazine
"[A] lovely book...Gayeton's collection of candid sepia-toned images and heartfelt text bring this adventure to life in a manner that makes you yearn to follow in his footsteps."
"This is a sumptuous and utterly captivating book with many spectacular sepia-toned 4-color images and gatefolds."
"Gayeton has captured the gastronomic heart and soul of an Italian village, then shared it through sepia-toned photographs."
"This gorgeous book captures the essence of what we now call Slow Food, food perfectly attuned to the land and culture that produce it. One look at it makes me want to get on the next plane to Tuscany."
--Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health and Professor of Sociology at New York University. Her most recent book is the award-winning What to Eat.
"Slow...is part painting, poem, and film, rich with mouthwatering detail. It's a satisfying and simultaneously hunger-inducing portrait of living close to the land, in sync with nature."
--Virtuoso Life magazine
"...With 75 dramatic slice-of-life portraits...Douglas Gayeton invites us to the fields, barns, butcher shops, and dinner tables where he learned how to live and eat in the Tuscan countryside. Inspired by pre-Renaissance narrative paintings, the filmmaker stitched together dozens of evocative, large-format sepia photographs capturing scenes of daily rural life in Pistoia. He then etched them with marginalia and centuries-old Tuscan proverbs...His sumptuous chronicle leaves us hungry for more."
--Travel + Leisure magazine
"Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town gives us a visual and written window on a rapidly disappearing world, ruled by the land, the seasons, and simple interactions. Industrialized food is breaking the web that connects us intimately to what we eat at a cost to our health and our environment."
--Robert Kenner, director, producer, Food, Inc.
"Not too long ago the entire planet lived on Slow Food. Today life in the fast lane zips by blurring the fact that real food produced in natural ways enjoyed with family and friends is a blessing we need and should all heed. It's immediately clear that Douglas Gayeton's Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town is the result of a decade of personal research. it unfolds from a unique recipe combining artful images, insightful impressions, and intimate stories about his own culinary slow food odyssey in a small Italian town.
Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town is a photo book that feels like a warm, friendly, home movie by a talented artist who isn't afraid to share embarassing moments as well as authentic insights. It's quite delicious in a visual, viceral and cerebral sense."
--Peter Menzel, photographer and creator of Material World
"Many have tried to explain Slow Food in written words, but few have managed to communicate the essence of this movement as successfully."
--Alice Waters, internationally renowned chef and the co-owner of Chez Panisse, and the founder of Slow Food Nation
"These photographs are rich and undeniably authentic...that goes beyond the boundaries of nations and languages and represents the principles at the heart of the Slow Food movement."
--Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food movement
"Douglas Gayeton walked into my butcher shop, and I discovered an artist.
An artist-photographer, an innovative Creative who has something of the miraculous in the way he senses the subject, for his capacity to get inside us with clear perception, and with humanity.
Douglas builds on the truth, expanding the space in a scene of everyday life, he animates it with personalities, furnishings, objects and atmosphere.
He sought out genuine Tuscan characters, he took time to understand them. And here they are.
As a collar or halo, he notes their names, as an apron; their life stories hand-written as is befitting to ancient, eternal things.
Each scene is entitled with proverbs or Tuscan sayings, highlighting our foods, breads and meats.
He offers up his creations steeped in sepia tones, with the flavour of old daguerreotypes.
For the passion he puts into his work, and for how he depicted my butcher shop, a simple thank you is not enough."
--Dario Cecchini, Owner, Antica Macelleria Cecchini (featured on pages 112-113 of Slow: Life in Tuscan Town)
"A timely, elegant and innovative work from one of the most creative prolific savant thinkers I know. Every time I turn around, Douglas emerges, after having spelunkered below the cultural radar, with a body of work, whether it be a film, writings, or images that capture the true essence fo the subject matter he chooses to indulge. In short, always ahead of the curve. SLOW is a treasure trove of "life images" from what could very well be the beginnings of the most thought provoking movements in food gathering that we have seen."
--Steve Reiss, Executive Producer, Sea Level FX
"SLOW is a major accomplishment in visual storytelling - one of those rare works so crammed with life that it's difficult to classify. Personal narrative? Cookbook? Travelog? All and none. By whatever door you enter and whatever path you take, SLOW's warmth of spirit and manifest love of place will inspire new ways to look around and truly connect."
--Eric La Brecque, Principal, Applied Storytelling