Monday, 28 January 2008

Florence W12

The above photograph is from Days and Nights in W12 (CB editions) – which is, as you already know if you have a copy (and if you don’t, why not?), a collection of fifty very ordinary photographs of Shepherd’s Bush, London W12 (school of Martin Parr’s books of boring postcards) accompanied by fifty prose paragraphs that comprise stories (some more plausible than others), reflections, speculations and the occasional historically accurate fact. It’s described in the blurb as ‘a modern-day topographical sketchbook with portraits from life, more or less’.

I’ve recently discovered that Days and Nights has a cousin – The Doorbells of Florence by Andrew Losowsky, published in 2006 and available from Losowsky’s book is described on his website as ‘a collection of 36 photographs and accompanying short stories, set in a strange version of the city of Florence’; the photographs are all of doorbells, the stories concern the people who might answer if you press those bells. (A disclaimer paragraph on the copyright page states that ‘This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real events, companies, situations or people, alive or dead, would just be weird.’)

The Uxbridge Road meets the Via degli Strozzi. Nights and Days in W12 is a low-cost production with black-and-white photographs; The Doorbells of Florence is a high-gloss book with full-bleed colour photographs (‘the mini coffee-table book that espresso was invented for’, another website calls it). Both are good. (But Night and Days is cheaper, and comes to you a lot quicker: buy now while stocks last.)

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