Not Paved With Gold


Not Paved With Gold


Not Paved With Gold opens up a world of memories and reflections in more than 80 photographs that Pietropaolo took of his family, neighbourhood and community in Toronto’s Little Italy in the 1970s. Having immigrated from Italy at the age of eight with his family, his own immigrant experience informed the making of these photographs. His life-long love affair with photography became an irreversible journey when as a young man, he began to photograph his fellow Italian-Canadians at work, at rest, at worship, and at play. He wrote, “photography and immigration have been inextricably linked in my life.” An intensely personal book, his evocative images combined with background text provide the first full portrait of this period and the dynamic community. This body of work is highly acclaimed and has been published extensively in journals, magazines, and books for almost four decades; it appeared as a monograph in 2006.

Not Paved With Gold distinguishes itself for its intimacy and humanity.

Photo Life magazine said, “As a portraitist, Pietropaolo is very cautious of his role. He believes in the basic tenet that a good portrait is given, not taken.”

Geist Magazine said, ‘this is a brilliant example of photography at its most ‘communicative’: for Pietropaolo, the camera is a tool for touching the world.”

From the foreword by Nino Ricci: “The power of a good photograph, I think, is exactly in making a thing seem at once strange and utterly familiar, like something that has come up out of our own unconscious.  This is the power I find in Vincenzo Pietropaolo’s work: the ability to capture the archetypal instant, to show us something we’ve always known even while he makes us see it for the first time.”

Essay by Giuliana Colalillo, historian of immigration.

Interview by Denyse Gérin-Lajoie, editor & co-director, Le Magazine OVO, 1974-88.

Essay and texts by Vincenzo Pietropaolo.

Soft cover with flaps, duo tone, 134 pp., 10x10.5 in.

Publisher: Between the Lines, Toronto, 2006

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