My life was so much tamer than that of Nan Goldin’s group of friends, but I identified with the hunger for love, connection, community and freedom, and I still do, though now when I go back to it, it’s twinged with nostalgia and longing for what was and what wasn’t. I lived in Argentina at the time, so I didn’t get a chance to see the slideshow until much later, but that was fine. The small softcover book did the job, and it survived the million times I’ve looked at it.
Dawoud Bey represents the first generation of young Black photographers radicalized by the Black Arts Movement to also fall under the hypnotic sway of DeCarava’s work and then forge their own paths to lensing the everyday beauty of the Black community. By the post-revolutionary 1970s there was no miracle or challenge for this generation of artists in seeing the iconographic faces of the Black community as works of art. Instead they faced the test of making art equal to the proliferation of the diverse beauty in the community’s DNA.
Sometime in early 2019 Kim Bourus invited me to her gallery, Higher Pictures, in Manhattan, to show me a book by Susan Lipper titled Grapevine, a classic I’d never laid eyes on, and Kim had a hunch it was my kind of book. Photographed in stark black and white with a flash-mounted Hasselblad, Grapevine chronicles scenes from daily life in a small, rural enclave in West Virginia.
In response to all my questions about his honeymoon in Sardinia, Guido told me I should also talk to Maurizio Preda. I therefore found out that there were actually three of them on the trip. Guido and his wife were accompanied by one of the close friends with whom he and Marta shared a house during his years studying architecture at university in Venice before they were married. So I called Maurizio to hear his account of the young photographer Guido in Sardinia. Talking to him was like opening a treasure chest of precious memories and anecdotes told with the enthusiasm of someone who gets excited about the great friendship of a lifetime, as if Guido were as dear to him as a brother.