In 2009, Francesco Neri (born in 1982 in Faenza, Italy) met the farmer Livio Papi in Rubiera. The landscape in Emilia-Romagna is undergoing a dramatic transformation following construction work on the high-speed railway (TAV) and related expropriations. This farmer welcomed the photographer warmly, showing him his fields and telling him about his work. Francesco Neri’s tranquil photographs are commensurate with this magnanimity, that of a moment shared. His technique, approach and images recall those of photographers such as August Sander, Paul Strand, Nicholas Nixon, Judith Joy Ross and Guido Guidi who taught him. Contadini e Paesani, incorporating body language, backdrop, light, presents an extensive gallery of photographic portraits of these men and women who have spent a large part of their life devoted to farming the land.
Contadini e Paesani received support from Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur in Cologne that honoured Francesco Neri with the August Sander Award in 2018. In tandem with this exhibition, Fondation A Stichting has partnered with Hartmann Books to publish Francesco Neri, Farmers.