Ghetto, Broomberg and Chanarin’s first collaboration with Trolley, was published ten years ago. It saw the then creative editors and principal photographers of Colors Magazine document 12 contemporary gated communities, from a maximum-security prison in South Africa to a psychiatric hospital in Cuba. Photographed entirely on large format colour negative, Ghetto took three years to produce and over time has became a popular classic within photo book history. It is now out of print.
Scarti di avviamento is the technical term for the paper that is fed through the printing press to clean the drums of ink between print runs. This by-product is usually destroyed once the book is printed. But in this case the scarti – Italian for scraps - were saved and safely stored away by publisher Gigi Giannuzzi. Following his untimely death in December 2012 this box was discovered. In these scraps the layering of the original images from Ghetto appear almost purposeful. The twice-printed sheets reveal uncanny and often beautiful combinations, both compositionally and contextually. In one the arm of a South African prisoner drops casually into the scene of young Tanzanian refugees perched in a tree, whilst in another an American octogenarian from ‘Leisure World’ retirement home sits almost perfectly atop the knee of a Kurdish lorry driver.
These scraps would normally have been swept up and discarded from the factory floor. But in this elegant little book they are elevated to original and fascinating works in their own right; a pure and beautiful accident in the world of bookmaking. Yet in truth they are nothing but a series of little accidents.
“Scarti with its improbable representations fits perfectly into the pessimistic vision of Broomberg & Chanarin on the power of photography to reflect reality.” Remi Coignet, Le Monde.
“Thanks to Gigi, who was inspired by those late night moments when the printing presses were churning out accidental juxtapositions, now we can appreciate the beauty, irony and humor of chance creations, too.” Jim Casper, Lensculture