Custodi, a photographic book that reveals the soul of Sirmione

In Davide Greco's portraits 16 stories of humanity, care and love for the beauty and fragility of Sirmione


“My photographs want to give credit to those who, behind the scenes, take care of the beauty of Sirmione, pass on its stories and traditions and protect its fragilities”
Davide Greco, from the introduction to Custodi.

The archaeologist, the director of the castle, the gardener, the biographer of the diva, the caretaker of the villa and the guardian of silence, the genius of the lake: these and others are the souls that populate Custodi, the photographic book by Davide Greco.
Their faces were finally revealed during the presentation press conference at Palazzo Callas Exhibitions, Saturday 21 October.

The publication of the volume published by the Municipality of Sirmione closes the first edition of the Sirmione Photo Residency, during which the Turin photographer chose to tell the city through the stories of 16 custodians of beauty: people, as he himself says, “with a deep bond with Sirmione and who by free choice or destiny protect its historical, cultural, naturalistic or spiritual heritage.” In the two weeks he lived in close contact with these 16 custodians, Davide Greco weaved a dense dialogue with them through photography and words, capturing their gaze and their stories.

The BOOK01 of the Sirmione Photo Residency is a tribute to the beauty and fragility of Sirmione and to those who work to ensure that this beauty continues to be shared and told. It was a way for Davide Greco to experiment with photography as a means of investigating reality and to demonstrate his ability: in one of the most visited and photographed tourist destinations, can photography still be relevant?

“Can photography be an effective storytelling tool in a place crowded with images? During my artistic residency I tried to answer this question by comparing myself with another Sirmione, more intimate and, perhaps, closer to that idea of beauty handed down by poets through the centuries”.

Davide Greco managed to capture the authentic connection between photography and the territory. The portraits and stories of the Custodians show us that Sirmione is much more than it appears on the surface: a city with a deep soul, guarded with love and dedication by those who call it home.

The result is a choral story which the Mayor of Sirmione, Luisa Lavelli, comments as follows:

“With this publication we entrust photography with the task of telling the identity of a community and its territory. A narrative certainly faithful to the objective and at the same time with a new and in some ways unexpected plot, freely interpreted by Davide Greco. ‘There is one thing that photography must have, the humanity of the moment,’ wrote the photographer Robert Frank. The humanity of the moment is the heart of the story dedicated to the symbolic Guardians, who more than others stimulated the imagination and curiosity of the photographer”.

The authentic restitution of the soul of Sirmione in Greco’s images reciprocates the great freedom that the Sirmione Photo Residency grants to its artists, to give them the opportunity to best express their abilities. Thus Mauro Carrozza, Deputy Mayor and Councilor for Culture on the results obtained:

“The underlying theme of Davide Greco’s story is ‘care’, symbolically represented by the images of the ‘Guardians’ that his photographic lens transformed into witnesses of a reality with infinite facets and in continuous evolution. This reality is Sirmione, full of history and rich in beauty, capable of attracting the curiosity of visitors who come here from all over the world. A reality made up mainly of women and men, immensely fond of the area in which they live. The Guardians, in fact, who impressed the photographer so much that he hired some of them in his personal attempt ‘to preserve that time that constantly flows through your fingers’ (cit.). A task that makes your wrists tremble, to which only artistic expression in all its forms can aspire.“

The Sirmione Photo Residency is part of the solid path that sees Sirmione collaborate with prestigious international partners to give birth to original and important photographic exhibitions and projects: in this case the artistic direction has been entrusted to Andréa Holzherr and Ludovica Pellegatta, respectively Global Cultural Director and Partnerships Director of Magnum Photos.

The Sirmione Photo Residency continues, together with all the other events of the Sirmione Avard for Photography.

Fotografie di ©Davide Greco
Testi di Davide Greco e Ufficio Cultura e Turismo del Comune di Sirmione
Editore:  ©Comune di Sirmione
Edizione 01/2023, Tiratura: 1.000 copie

Watch the interview with Davide Greco and Ludovica Pellegatta at the presentation of Custodi

In the gallery we present just some of the exciting portraits present in Custodi. The book is available at the Culture Office of the Municipality of Sirmione.