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Exhibition: Aaron Schuman – SONATA

11 March 2023 @ 10:00 - 22 April 2023 @ 19:00


exhibition and site specific installation at Micamera, March 11 – April 22

Workshop: Image, Text & Powers of Observation March Saturday 11 and Sunday 12

Sonata is an extensive body of photographic work made by Aaron Schuman throughout Italy over the last four years. First published as a critically-acclaimed monograph in 2022 (MACK) (which you can find here), it draws inspiration from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Italian Journey (1786–1788), and both pursues and studies what Goethe described as “sense-impressions”, reiterating many of the introspective questions that Goethe asked himself during his own travels through Italy: “In putting my powers of observation to the test, I have found a new interest in life…Can I learn to look at things with clear, fresh eyes? How much can I take in at a single glance? Can the grooves of old mental habits be effaced? This is what I am trying to discover.”

Rather than attempting to capture and convey an objective reality, Sonata is consciously filtered through the many mythologies, idealisations, fascinations and fantasies associated with the country, and what it has represented in the imaginations of countless travellers who have visited it over the course of centuries. Schuman himself – first alongside his parents, and then with his wife and children – has developed a lifelong, visceral, almost primal connection to Italy; one that is admittedly and very clearly that of a foreigner, but is nevertheless strong, insightful, profoundly heartfelt, and deeply personal. Through Sonata, Schuman invites us to explore an Italy as much of the mind as of the world: one soaked in the euphoria and terror, harmony and dissonance of its cultural and historical legacies, and yet constantly new, invigorating, and resonant in its sensorial and psychological suggestions.


Micamera is honoured to present an exhibition and site-specific installation of Sonata, conceived and realised in collaboration with the artist himself. Alongside many beautiful prints, it also includes selections from Schuman’s intriguing collection of unique objects, photographs and ephemera that have informed this work, and extends into a curated selection of books drawn from Micamera’s own shelves.

Do you know the land where lemons trees bloom,
Where oranges glow like gold in a dark leafy gloom…
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1796


AARON SCHUMAN is an American photographer, writer, educator and curator based in the United Kingdom.  He is the author of several critically-acclaimed monographs, including Sonata (MACK, 2022), Slant (MACK, 2019) and Folk (NB Books, 2016) – which have been cited regularly by numerous photographers, critics and publications in annual “Best Photobooks of the Year” lists and reviews, including The GuardianTIMEInternazionaleThe New York TimesAmerican Suburb X, PhotoeyePhotobookstore Magazine, and Deadbeat Club Press, and have been longlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.
In addition to his own photographic work, Schuman has contributed texts and images to many books including Matteo di Giovanni: I Had To Shed My Skin (2022), OK: No Response (2022), Photo No-Nos: Meditations on What Not to Shoot (2021), Aperture Conversations: 1985 to the Present (2018), Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins (2018), Alec Soth: Gathered Leaves (2015), and The Photographer’s Playbook (2014), amongst many others; he also regularly contributes to magazines such as ApertureFoamFriezeTIMEHotshoeMagnum OnlineThe British Journal of Photography and more.  Furthermore, Schuman has served as Curator for festivals such as Krakow Photomonth, JaipurPhoto Festival and FotoFest Biennial, and has curated several major exhibitions for museums and institutions including the Royal Photographic Society, FOMU – Fotomuseum Antwerp, and the Houston Center of Photography. Schuman was the founder and editor of SeeSaw Magazine (2004-2014), and is Associate Professor of Photography & Visual Culture and Programme Leader of MA Photography at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol).

About Aaron Schuman

Aaron Schuman is an American photographer, writer and curator based in the United Kingdom. Schuman’s photographic work is exhibited and published internationally, and is held in a number of public and private collections. In addition to his own photographic work, Schuman has contributed texts to many books including Aperture Conversations: 1985 to the Present (Aperture, 2018). Additionally, Schuman has curated several major exhibitions, including “New American Documents – Gregory Halpern, Sam Contis, Bayete Ross Smith” (FOMU, Anversa, 2016). In 2014, Schuman served as Chief Curator of Krakow Photomonth, and in 2018 he served as Curator of JaipurPhoto Festival. Schuman was the founder and editor of SeeSaw Magazine (2004-2014), and is currently Programme Leader of the MA Photography programme at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol).


11 March 2023 @ 10:00
22 April 2023 @ 19:00
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Milano, italy 20121 Italia
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