Butturini produced several city specific reportage books , including Venice, Chile , Cuba, Prague. Like London, many were self published in his native Italy- making them rare collector’s items.
Martin Parr’s interest in the book, is that it was the first non-fashion oriented London photo book. He’s also interested photo books shot by foreign visitors to London, such a Punk ! by Spanish photographer Saladvor Costa and German, Frank Habicht’s Young London, Permissive Paradise also from 1969.
Publisher blurb for 2017 reprint :London is the new edition of the London by Gian Butturini of 1969. In June 1969, Butturini travelled to London and was instantly captivated by the dynamics of the ‘Swinging City’: a decade defined by social revolution, freedom of expression and political controversy. Picking up a camera for the first time, he was drawn to the immediacy of the photographic medium that allowed him to create images through a direct encounter with the world, without the need for preliminary drawings or predetermined parameters ― a way of working that was radically different from his design work. The resulting black and white photographs testify to Butturini’s fascination with the darker side of London ― the ‘true, bare’ version of the city belonging to the disenfranchised, destitute and marginalized rather than the City’s bowler hats or the changing of the guards that belonged to the realm of tourism. Disillusionment prevails in the gritty images, which evoke not only the atmosphere in the capital in the late 1960s but also Butturini’s own disenchantment with social injustice and discrimination. It all began in Victoria Station when he saw a young man staggering by with a syringe embedded in a vein. The Tube, pubs and streets were the stage of a frenzied humanity unseen by the tourists, who were wooed by Piccadilly and Carnaby Street, and by the Barnum Circus of showcases. Butturini recorded shots of everyday life full of pain and sarcasm, but also of joy and lyricism: two old people lying down and hugging each other on a lawn, the hippies, the fashionable young women, the poor homeless, coloured people often relegated to the humblest places, the pacifist demonstrations, the improvised orators at Speakers’ Corner. There was nothing stereotyped, but plenty of irony, a focus on authenticity and a careful selection of images.
Featured in The Photobook, volume 3, page 154/155 by Martin Parr & Gerry Badger.
While Butturini makes statements in the front saying, “The assembly: a few controversial pairings, the occasional ironic emphasis …there are no words beneath, no considerations”. While “over laboured”, might be closer to the truth. its remains a unique snapshot of London at the fin de siècle of the sixties.
• 1969 Self Published 1st Edition : Verona, Italy : Hardback, grey linen boards with gold embossed title. . Text by Gian Butturini and Luciano Mondini. Poem by Allen Ginsberg. Quote by Robert Capa printed on endpaper.
- Hard cover : 104 pages. 78 black and white photographs
- Book Dimensions : 27cm x 33cm (10 1/2 x 13 inch)
• 2017 Reprint : Foreword by Martin Parr, original Italian text replaced with English translations.
- Hard cover : 104 pages
- Book Dimensions : 26.04 x 1.91 x 31.12 cm
- Publisher : Damiani (5 Oct. 2017)