Carrara: The Marble Quarries of Tuscany

This book is a collection of 44 stunning black-and-white photographs by Joel Leivick of the marble quarries and quarry workers in and around Carrara, in the province of Tuscany, in northern Italy. The photographs are printed as tritones, to capture their delicacy and detail, and are preceded by an introduction that describes Leivick's goals and experiences as a photographer working at Carrara and provides a brief outline of the region's geology and long history of marble extraction. In an Afterword, anthropologist Alison Leitch discusses the culture of quarry work and the role of landscape in historical memory. The photographs of the Carrara quarries lay bare a vast and dramatic landscape as imposing as the Grand Canyon, reaching down from the mountains like a carefully orchestrated disaster of immense and inhuman size. But this vastness, hardly picturesque, is the result of steady attrition at the hands of man, a canyon carved by centuries of labor and ambition. With its overwhelming mass, Carrara is the scene for a primordial revealing of elements. In Leivick's words, At every turn the human as well as the geologic record is exposed. The noble outcroppings of stone and the most mundane debris-layers of a complex history-were set before me, defined by brilliant, revelatory light. This was a landscape that could sustain me for years, and so I went to work, absorbed by the dust, in a fever of concentration.