Scarti, the Italian word for scraps, is a humble name for this new gem of a photobook.

The book is, in reality, a collection of accidental mash-ups of overlapping images that first appeared 10 years ago (as single images) in the brilliant, anarchic photobook, Ghetto, by the creative duo Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin.

'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 accidental layering of the original images from Ghetto turned out to appear deliberate, bizarre and wonderfully artful. So, they were saved and safely stored away by publisher Gigi Giannuzzi. Following his untimely death in December 2012, Hannah Watson (Gigi's partner in crime at Trolley) rediscovered this box, and the scarti have just now been published as works of art worth savoring for themselves.

In Ghetto, Broomberg and Chanarin documented 12 contemporary "gated communities" — from a maximum-security prison in South Africa to a psychiatric hospital in Cuba, a retirement home in California, a gypsy ghetto in Macedonia, a refugee camp in Tanzania, and an old people's holiday camp in the USA. They spent a month in each place, methodically photographing and asking the same questions: "Who is in power here? Where do you go to be alone, to make love, to be with friends? What are your hopes and dreams?" 

Photographed entirely on large format color 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.

In Scarti, 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.

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

 

Scarti
Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin
ISBN: 978-1-907112-46-1
Publication Year: 2013
Binding: Hardback, clothbound, tipped in image
Pages: 64
Illustrations: 28 color
Publisher: Trolley Books