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Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town Hardcover – September 29, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"An ideal addition to any coffee-table book collection, this tome features gorgeous sepia-tone photographs and evocative writing that take readers on a journey through Tuscany by way of food."
--Hamptons Magazine, Marissa Bienstock

"You find yourself fully immersed, taking in all the interconnected moments of life that have been compressed into the image, and above all else, slowing down.  And by this feat the book perfectly communicates and exemplifies the Slow Food movement that this region birthed...It is a wonderful celebration of a lifestyle that links the food we eat with the community in which we live."
--Black and White Magazine

"With a combination of arresting portraits and personal handwritten anecdotes from his journey through the heart of Tuscany, Gayeton has created a charming and riveting story: a ‘flat film’ that celebrates the principles of the Slow Food movement and the people whose lives are devoted to growing, preparing and eating food. A beautiful addition to your coffee table."
--Ensemble Vacations Magazine

"At first glance, this photographic gallery of daily life in Pistoia may be mistaken for a journey back in time. The sepia-toned photographs of rural people tending a vineyard or a chicken or a hand of cards, of local butchers and cheese makers, tell the story of artist and filmmaker Gayeton's journey forward into a community still connected to its land...Gayeton expresses and celebrates the intimacy of that relationship with his stunning photographs that are artfully annotated in playful script, making each photograph a story of its own."
--Intermezzo Magazine

"In an absorbing culinary and cultural journey, well-known photographer and multi-media artist Douglas Gayeton illustrates the underlying essence of the slow-food movement and the authentic nature of domestic Italian life...rich and compelling."
--Photolife Magazine

"There are two kinds of food books - those that take on a sauce-splattered patina and a permanent place above the stove, and those that sit on the coffee table, a visual reminder to guests that their host is serious about food.  SLOW is a definitely among the latter, although it stands out primarily because it's impossible to blithely flip through."
--Time Out Chicago

--Food and Wine

"Gayeton's insightful pictures form a timeline and tell a story more effectively than any single photograph could do...The images are made even more powerful and memorable through the author's moving often amusing anectodal essays and the captions, quotes, commentary, and recipes that are hand-scrawled on the photos."

"Remarkable...After reading and looking through this book, you may want to give serious thought to heading for Tuscany."
--THE Magazine

"Douglas Gayeton's Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town is pornography for the Heat-reading set.  It is the Slow Food movement brought to art."
--Rosecrans Baldwin, The Morning News 

"Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town is a pictorial narrative of Pistoia and its inhabitants that seeks to explain the Slow Food movement in photographs and marginalia, playfully, even fancifully, like a modern illuminated manuscript."
--LA Weekly

"If you love beautiful books, Slow: Life in A Tuscan Country by Douglas Gayeton will be irresistible...This is both a personal narrative and one that - as great art must do - transcends and transforms the specific experiences portrayed.  Spectacular."
-Davd Wilk, WristersCast.com

"Gradually revealing insight into a more organic way of living, Gayeton's rich fusion and layering of images pulls us into a fascinating culinary and cultural journey."
--Photo Life magazine

"[A] lovely book...Gayeton's collection of candid sepia-toned images and heartfelt text bring this adventure to life in a manner that makes you yearn to follow in his footsteps."
--Shutterbug Magazine

"This is a sumptuous and utterly captivating book with many spectacular sepia-toned 4-color images and gatefolds."
--Stovetop Readings

"Gayeton has captured the gastronomic heart and soul of an Italian village, then shared it through sepia-toned photographs."
--7x7 Magazine

"This gorgeous book captures the essence of what we now call Slow Food, food perfectly attuned to the land and culture that produce it.  One look at it makes me want to get on the next plane to Tuscany."
--Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health and Professor of Sociology at New York University.  Her most recent book is the award-winning What to Eat.

"Slow...is part painting, poem, and film, rich with mouthwatering detail. It's a satisfying and simultaneously hunger-inducing portrait of living close to the land, in sync with nature."
--Virtuoso Life magazine

"...With 75 dramatic slice-of-life portraits...Douglas Gayeton invites us to the fields, barns, butcher shops, and dinner tables where he learned how to live and eat in the Tuscan countryside. Inspired by pre-Renaissance narrative paintings, the filmmaker stitched together dozens of evocative, large-format sepia photographs capturing scenes of daily rural life in Pistoia. He then etched them with marginalia and centuries-old Tuscan proverbs...His sumptuous chronicle leaves us hungry for more."
--Travel + Leisure magazine

"Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town gives us a visual and written window on a rapidly disappearing world, ruled by the land, the seasons, and simple interactions. Industrialized food is breaking the web that connects us intimately to what we eat at a cost to our health and our environment."
--Robert Kenner, director, producer, Food, Inc.

"Not too long ago the entire planet lived on Slow Food. Today life in the fast lane zips by blurring the fact that real food produced in natural ways enjoyed with family and friends is a blessing we need and should all heed. It's immediately clear that Douglas Gayeton's Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town is the result of a decade of personal research. it unfolds from a unique recipe combining artful images, insightful impressions, and intimate stories about his own culinary slow food odyssey in a small Italian town.

Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town is a photo book that feels like a warm, friendly, home movie by a talented artist who isn't afraid to share embarassing moments as well as authentic insights. It's quite delicious in a visual, viceral and cerebral sense."

--Peter Menzel, photographer and creator of Material World

"Many have tried to explain Slow Food in written words, but few have managed to communicate the essence of this movement as successfully."
--Alice Waters, internationally renowned chef and the co-owner of Chez Panisse, and the founder of Slow Food Nation

"These photographs are rich and undeniably authentic...that goes beyond the boundaries of nations and languages and represents the principles at the heart of the Slow Food movement."
--Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food movement

"Douglas Gayeton walked into my butcher shop, and I discovered an artist.
An artist-photographer, an innovative Creative who has something of the miraculous in the way he senses the subject, for his capacity to get inside us with clear perception, and with humanity.
Douglas builds on the truth, expanding the space in a scene of everyday life, he animates it with personalities, furnishings, objects and atmosphere.
He sought out genuine Tuscan characters, he took time to understand them.  And here they are.
As a collar or halo, he notes their names, as an apron; their life stories hand-written as is befitting to ancient, eternal things.
Each scene is entitled with proverbs or Tuscan sayings, highlighting our foods, breads and meats.
He offers up his creations steeped in sepia tones, with the flavour of old daguerreotypes.
For the passion he puts into his work, and for how he depicted my butcher shop, a simple thank you is not enough."

--Dario Cecchini, Owner, Antica Macelleria Cecchini (featured on pages 112-113 of Slow: Life in Tuscan Town)

"A timely, elegant and innovative work from one of the most creative prolific savant thinkers I know. Every time I turn around, Douglas emerges, after having spelunkered below the cultural radar, with a body of work, whether it be a film, writings, or images that capture the true essence fo the subject matter he chooses to indulge. In short, always ahead of the curve. SLOW is a treasure trove of "life images" from what could very well be the beginnings of the most thought provoking movements in food gathering that we have seen."
--Steve Reiss, Executive Producer, Sea Level FX

"SLOW is a major accomplishment in visual storytelling - one of those rare works so crammed with life that it's difficult to classify. Personal narrative? Cookbook? Travelog? All and none. By whatever door you enter and whatever path you take, SLOW's warmth of spirit and manifest love of place will inspire new ways to look around and truly connect."
--Eric La Brecque, Principal, Applied Storytelling

About the Author

Douglas Gayeton is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer. His images are
held in a number of influential museum and private collections around the
world, and have been featured in numerous print and online media, such as
Time Magazine. Since the early 90s he has created award-winning work at the boundaries of traditional and converging media for AOL, MSN, MTV, Yahoo, Fox, Napster, Vivendi, Sony, Viacom, Sega, Intel, National Geographic, PBS, Warner Bros, Columbia, and Virgin Records. Recent projects include LOST IN ITALY, a 26 episode interstitial TV series Gayeton created, directed, and shot for Fine Living, and A SECOND LIFE ODYSSEY for HBO, the first documentary shot inside a virtual world. Gayeton lectures frequently on art, technology and sustainability.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Welcome Books (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599620723
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599620725
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,137,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for the pictures but when I started reading I couldn't put it down. I hate reading and yet I found myself finishing this book in two days. The pictures and stories completely captured every amazing and dysfunctional aspect of Italian culture. From the corrupt Italian bureaucracy to the simplicity of old italian women pulling the heads off chickens, this book is a hundred years of Italian culture in 175 pages. I've spent many summers in Tuscany yet I never found an artist who could capture it on paper like Gayeton has.
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Format: Hardcover
Talk about a book that brings you to the heart of a town and captures your heart, Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town does exactly that!

Each of Gayeton's photographs are actually a clever montage/collage of photographs taken over a period of time ranging from seven minutes to several hours. They are so cleverly connected that it is hard to believe the shot isn't just a single shot. The photographs are primarily done in sepia often with overlays of the authors notes, anecdotes, factual information and more. The book also contains recipes.

You truly feel as though you are transported into the town and into a slower way of life. One where you can grab a basket and collect mushrooms or herbs. A life where you and your family can spend hours at dinner eating, talking and laughing because nowhere is more important than where you are now.

If you have read Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun or Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy and were captured by her prose; Douglas Gayeton's Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town will allow you to experience the same admiration and love for Tuscany, but through his marvelous photographs that are coupled with his observations.

I'm ready to pack my bags and move!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a wonderful pictorial trip through parts of Italy! I love the photo montages and all the commentary. Since I still have family in Italy it just felt like so many of my visits. We would all do well to slow down a bit and enjoy the space around us! Admittedly, it was diffiicult to read the script, but..think slow!! Just enjoy it all.
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Format: Hardcover
Lovely journal of the photographer's encounters with weather beaten characters/contadini who maintain precious and ever precarious connections to Italy's agrarian roots. I found the handwritten notes and scribbles over the photos often difficult to read (white print over seppia photos) and distracting from seeing/appreciating the photos. While I loved reading his thoughts about the people and the scene, I wish there was a way to do this a little more subtlely. When there was regular print off to the side of the photographs, it was usually repeated (unnecessarily) in handwritten script again on the photo. I think you need to have some basic understanding of Italian as a small portion of text is not translated. This is a book for people who have spent some time in the Italian countryside, have family connections to the contadini, or are food centric folks.
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Format: Hardcover
I will be honest. Before I began this book, I was pretty sure I would not like it. At some point, I had added it to my list, and I thought that maybe I would give it three stars if I even finished it.

I have to say that I was wrong! Yes, the pictures were fantastic, but I was so engaged in the story that I hated to put it down. It was a bulky book to carry with me, but I learned so much that it was worth it!

I was enthralled by the author's descriptions of a part of this world that I thought no longer existed. I found myself talking about this book on countless occasions and having random thoughts and memories about it at various times.

This book is much more than pictures. It is a portrait of life through multimedia that truly encapsulates a people and a life that should inspire us to consider our own rat race existence.
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Format: Hardcover
Our family currently is sharing our home with Erika, a student from Rome, Italy. I couldn't wait to share this book with her to get her take on it, even though she's from what I would call the central coastal area. It was nice that she could also do a little translating for me too. She whole-heartily confirms that a lot of their conversations back in Italy revolve around gossiping (young and old alike) I guess, small town America is not so different from small town Italy, American politics (she also thinks they should be able to vote right along with us because so many of our political decisions influence Italians), and as expected for a Country known for their foods, most of the conversations center around food. She has a Grandfather who currently lives in Bari (Southern Italy) and he could also add volumes to the "old ways" which in all reality deep down haven't changed much over the past century. Part of the old highways are still the original built by the Romans, and she can't believe the size of our SUV vehicles we drive, for example anything larger than a Chevrolet Malibu would never be able to maneuver around downtown Rome. It is a special treat to have her with us and to learn about her culture as she does ours. I really hope to be able to meet her family one day.

In Slow, you will take a fascinating journey through the heart of Tuscany. The personal handwritten anecdotes combined with the timely and elegant photos Gayeton has created a charming story that celebrates the principles of the Slow Food movement and the people whose lives are devoted to growing, preparing and eating food. A beautiful and treasured addition to your coffee table! It will definitely touch you.
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