Photographer: Manca Juvan (b. & resides Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Publisher: ZRC Publishing
Essays: Manca Juvan, Sasa Petejan, Urska Strle
Text: English (Slovene e-book edition is available)
Hardcover book with slip-cover, ring binding, four-color lithography, split pages, Fascist internment timeline, printed at optimal media, Germany
Photobook designer: Prapesa (Sara Badovinac & Peter Zabret)
Notes: The opening photographs are dark with each succeeding photograph allowing more light to illuminate and reveal a bit more tantalizing information about the unfolding landscape. This visual metaphor for secrets and concealed information becomes more apparent as the viewer confronts portraits and personal testimonies of events that occurred during WWII (1939 – 1943) by the Italian Fascist. Probably for political reasons and since the Italian Fascist camps were not as horrific as the Germany Nazi counterparts, these camp sites and the events that took place are not well known.
From the authors regarding the concept of this book; “Acknowledgement of Italian war crimes in the larger international context today, is as uncommon as it is inconsistent. Indeed a survey of various references and encyclopedias rarely turns up any mention whatsoever of the many Italian concentration camps that served as instruments of political and racial persecution. While the most notorious Nazi camps have become widely embedded in popular culture and our collective imagination, history has little if anything to say about the Italian Fascist camps.
Juvan’s photobook was a recent winner of the Photo Independent International Photo Book Competition that I was a jurist for. I was immediately taken by the four elements we use as criteria to evaluate the book submissions; photography, project concept execution, book design and book production. One design element I found brilliant was within the body of the book, most of the interior pages are horizontally split, which allows the reader to change and modify the sequencing and pairing of the page spreads, thus the narrative. This book design is an excellent physical metaphor relating to the fragmentation of memory, that memory can be incomplete and jumbled with time. Likewise, this book design speaks to ability to alter facts and change meanings.
Juvan has confronted an uncomfortable subject and with the current political turmoil in the world, I feel that it is a danger that we must continue to remind ourselves about and guard ourselves against. Recommended
Other book review we featured for Manca Juvan, Unordinary Lives – Afghanistan