The title ‘Adda, River of Man’ refers to a river in Northern Italy, a tributary of the Po (the Po is the longest Italian river, also called the ‘Mississippi of Italy’). The Adda rises in the Alps near the border with Switzerland and flows through Lake Como, joining the Po in Cremona. Dated 1975, this beautiful publication is a documentation of the river, an early attempt to denounce the corruption of nature and the intervention on man on the surrounding landscape that was threatening to compromise an irreplaceable resource. At the same time, the images reveal a strive towards redemption, a cry of outrage.
The authors are two passionate amateur photographers, Antonio Pallavera and Franco Razzini. In the first half of the seventies they document the course of the river, showing the romantic and poetic flowing, the landscapes still preserved but at the same time not hiding or excluding the harmful effects of pollution and the irrational exploitation of the river banks. The river: a metaphor, but also a real source of life and opportunities.
The sequence, interspersed with poems by Ada Negri, Sergio Solmi and Andrea Maietti, alternates visionary blacks and whites with others that are sometimes genuinely didascalic, but always filled with affection and spontaneity. The color at the end of the book seems to be an invitation to hope.
On the opening page, a boatman says: “After all, rivers are the way men want them”.
The river Adda flows along these pages, revealing itself to us, and waiting.
What shall we do with our river?