After graduating from high school, the 19-year-old Thomas Hoepker travelled to Italy regularly from the summer of 1956 and in the following years to take photographs there with a Leica MP. In his pictures of Italy, Hoepker found a social perspective that would accompany and shape his work; it was here that he developed his photographic language and created individual memory images. His humanistic view and the film-like compositions of the images bring the photographs close to the neo-realist cinema of the time. Of course, they also remind me of Ferdinando Scianna and Herbert List's Italy classics. An attitude to life between departure and tradition. Between 1956 and 1959, during his travels in Italy, he produced a collection of more than 10,000 negatives. It was the beginning of a photographic career that lasted for more than six decades. The focus of all his pictures and reportages is on people and their lives in social communities.
Italia brings together an extensive selection from this series and for the first time the impressive early work of the Magnum legend is now available in a comprehensive illustrated book. It was an intensive and exciting time to sift through this series in Thomas Hoepker's archive and to scan a large selection and transfer it to the photographer's catalogue of works.It is also a great responsibility to write such a book with Hoepker. We hope that the audience can feel that through the book. We have decided (I think it is also a kind of rule - at least for us and until now) to use a classic book design for this series of classic pictures, which were created more than 60 years ago, the sequence is somewhat based on the books of the 50s and 60s.