Photobooks

Last Portrait 

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

different order.

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

Last Portrait  (2019) É Sonia Lenzi

Last Portrait  (2019) É Sonia Lenzi

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

to everyone.





 


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 lastportait@sonialenzi.com

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
ISBN: 978-1-5272-3991-3

 

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.