Frank Cancian – Lacedonia – An Italian Town, 1957
Copyright Frank Cancian 2013 published by Delta 3 Edizioni
An anthropologist by training and a photographer as a passion, these two elements were fused together in 1957 when Frank Cancian investigated a small Italian hill-top community located east of Naples. This body of work could also pass for a photojournalist story found in either LIFE or LOOK magazines of this same period.
As a trained observer of culture and society, Cancian did not remain aloof and at a distance, but directly interacted with his subjects, catching them in self-reflection as well as allowing them to boldly face his lens. For a small Italian town, an Italian-American stranger with a camera was an oddity, thus his presence was conspicuous. Nevertheless, over time he was able to blend in and become more of an objective observer.
The book is divided into four sections; The Town, The Piazza, Procession of Our Lady of Graces and The Farm, all important elements to life in this region. The double page spread of a wedding progression as it snakes along the hilltop road winding through the town is beautifully composed. The light drizzle adds an interesting atmospheric effect. Cancian includes in the edge of the frame in the foreground a small knot of townspeople who although are not part of the wedding procession, are still very interested in the local event.
The hardcover book has an image wrap cover, with the texts in both Italian and English. The essays were provided by Franco Arminio, Rocco Pagnatiello and Frank Cancian. As Cancian is a member of the Photographers Exchange and a first generation American who family had emigrated from Italy, thus this is also part autobiographical story.