Ever prolific ad-man and vernacular photography aficionado Erik Kessels’ recent found-photography project is a sweet image-led love letter both in the literal sense and in its affection for the simple pleasures of a summer holiday.
‘Same place, same time, same same but different’ is the 17th edition in the book series ‘in almost every picture’. The project saw Kessels collaborate with Sergio Smerieri, a photography studio owner who developed the images and was also a friend of the stars of the book, Carlo and Luciana.
‘Same place, same time, same same but different’ details the relationship of Italian couple Carlo and Luciana, who hails from the town of Vignola in the Modena province. Throughout their lives, the pair took photos of one another in each location they went on holiday – meaning they’re rarely pictured together, other than a few that were likely taken by resort staff members or fellow holidaymakers they met along the way.
“In almost every picture, we see him or her but never them,” says Kessels. “Same place, same time, ‘same same but different’, you might say.”
In the early days, when the couple seems to be in their 20s and 30s, these were black and white images – many of which were shot on the road – before moving into colour photography later in their lives, once they’d taken a couple of decades away from holidaying.
The book was designed to include a section with about 20 blank pages, symbolising the years when Carlo and Luciana were working and didn’t have the chance to go on holiday, and as such, didn’t have the opportunity to take pictures of one other.
According to the text within the book, before they met, Luciana worked as a tailor with her father and sister and became a housewife once she married Carlo, a clerk in a bricolage store. The couple made a small handful of trips just after they married, but these fell by the wayside when work took over. The move from black and white to colour echoes the shift from “newly-wed infatuation grows into a retired life of familiar partnership,” as the book puts it.
“What never changes is Carlo and Luciana’s commitment to their project and the love that feels ever-present. By studying the photos, we notice that Carlo poses for the camera—for his legacy—often looking into the distance. Whereas Luciana mostly addresses the man behind the camera, she poses for him. Together they create a curious contradiction; two halves, each with their own different motive, making one whole. Carlo and Luciana undoubtedly lived a vibrant life, full of adventure and ‘Joie de Vivre’.”