Ravenna by Gerry Johansson

Gerry Johansson’s most recent book, Ravenna is a walk along the city’s Candiano canal that leads from the city center to Porto Corsini at the Adriatic. His first visit in 2013 was spurred by an invitation to participate in a project called Adriatic Coast to Coast about the territories overlooking the Adriatic Sea. As the accompanying text states, “…he parked his car and started walking, alone, in the direction that seemed more inviting to him.” The 54 photographs were made over several visits between 2013 and 2015.
“When I am in a foreign country, I always read the signs and try to understand what they mean. In this case, I quickly realized that it was a place where someone was selling melons, which in Sweden have a similar name, meloner. Reading the sign MELONIMELONI, the sound made me automatically think of the words ‘melody’ and ‘meloncholy’. It was this combination of letters and sounds that urged me to start walking along via Bosca.” – Gerry Johansson
What I have always found refreshing about Johansson is the sense one feels of his enjoyment of moving through an unfamiliar landscape and responding with instinct to what is before him. The work forms not in the mind first but through the steps he takes and directness at which he looks. This is not unique to Johansson by any stretch but the sense of solitude and fullness of his frames are a reward for those who pause and look. Essentially, he trusts in the world to provide.
Ravenna as a bookwork is beautifully realized with a fine design by Leonardo Sonnoli. Many of Johansson’s books share the same size, almost like individual chapters to a larger work. This book is a sequence of loose leaves held together simply by the gutter fold and housed in an elegant black folder with silkscreened texts and cover. Published by Osservatorio Fotografico in a small edition of 350 copies, this will be gone before you know it.

Gerry Johansson
Osservatorio Fotografico, 2016