Nothing makes me feel more at home than the smell of horse shit.  

Who am I and where do I come from? Has the place where I grew up shaped me in any way? Have my family members somehow made me the person I am? Who do I resemble?

I grew up in a farm, near the city of Milan, a place whose golden days have long been past. 

This project combines family photographs captured between the late 1930s to the 1950s and images that I have shot today of the same place and my family members. Throughout the work I have included extracts of old correspondence from my great grand mother to her daughter.

Family photos are more than just the image of beloved ones; they are historical documents, able to inform us and shape ideas we have about our ancestors. They can tell intimately the story of our families, somehow symbolic of ourselves, in the mirror of our history.

Feature on GUP:

I never married but I had two great loves in my life: the countryside and raising honeybees.

“The sun has finally appeared, and together with it, so has life in the fields and in the air. Mr. Necchi keeps moaning for the rain. Tomorrow they will pay bread for the month of September, it is about 1700 lire.”

“There are moments when the sky covers itself, but then the sun wins the clouds and goes back to shining in the blue.”

“My lovely daughters,

home without you is like a tomb, quiet and silent. The heat is quite hot. Mr. Giovanni worked in the garden: he planted cabbage and  fixed two flower beds. Dahlia flowers have been moistened, gladiolus are worsening more and more. Mr. Fanino and Mrs. Nina have recovered. Horses and foals are in wonderful shape. They miss their trainers... Remember my wishes, be the guardian angel your protector each hour of the day. Be cautious.” 

“I thought I had seen him, up there in the sky, next to grandma and the Admiral. When a person leaves us like this, suddenly memories, desires and many others things arise in the heart.”

The most important decisions I’ve made in my life haven’t been for opportunity or calculation. They have always been reasoned but primarily driven by my feelings.

“My Dear Marianna,

yesterday morning we picked up the fish pot, we caught several small fish. In the afternoon, Mr. Necchi came with his horse and together with myself and Carlo we left for Vidigulgo village to visit untie Lena. Flik, Tapin, Tell and Fido are doing great. The day before yesterday, Mr. Lombardi threw a wooden stick in the water. Fido jumped in and brought it back to him”. 

I used to come to the farmer’s courtyard because I was always a bit of a rebel. Despite me being very calm, I was always fleeing, escaping from control. When I was a kid the bicycle finally enabled me to slip away and explore.

I don’t know why I was, and still am, so mesmerized by horses. It’s something I was born with. In my sleep, I have always dreamt about horses - never about girls or anything else. I love horses and think that they love me too. Horses accept me. I’m not sure why, but they do. They are something special. They are different from all the other animals. I like horses more than humans; they never lie, and they never show off.

© Chiara Luxardo 2017

Using Format