by Sonia Lenzi
LAST PORTRAIT: A PHOTOBOOK REINFORCING
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN WOMEN –
In 'What? Market? Market!'
the second edition of a joint discussion
between Unseen Book Market and
Photobook Week Aarhus (2018-2019)
Concept and production:
Moritz Neumüller, Daria Tuminas
Could you tell us about your recently
published book Last Portrait ?
SL: Last Portrait is about relationships
between women; how would we like to
be represented by other women and how
would we like to represent ourselves?
What kinds of relationships could we
potentially build? The book contains
photographs of portraits of women that
were placed at their gravesides in Italian
cemeteries, alongside poetry that I wrote
about each picture. The book is unbound
and is supposed to be “performed”. In
a group, readers are meant to choose
certain images from the book, reflect
on them, and develop fictional narratives
around the women and their interpersonal
relationships, drawing on their
own experiences and biographies in
the process. It was published by Tosca
Press in 2019 and, aside from the regular
edition, has a limited edition of 20
copies with a case designed by Arabella
Schwarzhopf, which allows the reader to
remove the pages and return them in a
What do you think about women’s
representation in the photobook world?
SL: I am not very good at promoting my
work, and I think a lot of women probably
feel the same way. Plus, we live in
a patriarchal society, that’s just a fact.
We should take action against this, work
collectively and create a community
24 of women photographers who support
each other. My own work is dedicated
to strengthening bonds between
women. I am part the Italian Women
Photographers’ Association and I recently
proposed a project about photobooks
by women involving the Womens’ Center
in Bologna. They have a very receptive
audience towards art events and they already
have some photobooks by women
in their library. Plus, they’ll likely attract
an audience that is engaged in gender
politics. I am interested in the ways photobooks
can connect different groups of
people, and in encouraging the dialogue
to move beyond the realms of photography.
I’ve seen this work well in places
like The Feminist Library in London,
where Last Portrait was once presented.
I’m looking forward to facilitating more
events like this.
Why do you choose for a photobook format to
communicate your ideas?
SL: The photobook is important for me as
it either signals the starting point of a
collaborative process or, once published,
becomes accessible to the general public.
While people often come into contact
with it within domestic spaces, the photobook
is also a powerful form of public
art. It can be encountered in libraries and
art galleries, even cafes, parks, buses,
trains. The photobook makes art accessible
The choice of the last portrait, the one that represents us forever. How and by whom women want to be memorialized. All this concerns our essence as women, how we are perceived, who we are and how we would like to be. And which image we would like to leave. A female universe of memories, thoughts, friendship and family ties.
Every woman is invited to complete the narrative.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Photobook published in 2019 by Tosca Press.
100 copies numbered and signed, box size 25 x 25 x 4,5 cm.
+ 20 collector's editions with structure, box size 17 x 23,5 x 10 cm.
Case and structure ⓒ Sonia Lenzi and Arabella Schwarzkopf
All rights reserved. No part may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means whatever (including electronic, mechanical, microcopying, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the author.