I subscribe to too many magazines and I can’t stop. The print kind. It takes me a while to flip through them (especially those fall Vogue phone books) but sometimes I’ll commit to going through a stack and just flip away, tearing out articles or images and putting them into stacks like an old-school Pinterest. But it’s not Pinterest, so that means I usually have a stack of articles and images to go through after I finish my flipping. But I work quickly, I’m like that animal that’s attracted to shiny things and only shiny things. With eyes zig-zagging and darting plus some really heavy editing, I’m usually in pretty good shape and the stacks end up being pretty minimal. Things come to a screeching halt, however, when I see a dog. Or anything Italian. Or something really beautiful. When it’s all three, well forget it. At that point I’ve found the shiniest thing of all and it’s time out.
This happened to me a while back as I raced through the December 2006 issue of Town & Country when I came across an article about celebrated photographer and author Priscilla Rattazzi. For many years she worked as a fashion photographer in New York (in those Studio 54 days), later focusing on photography for her books: Georgica Pond, Luna & Lola, Children, and Best Friends. Such a beautiful collection of images, and what a life! Her uncle was head of Fiat and icon-in-general Gianni Agnelli, and everyone knows the Agnellis are pretty much the Kennedys of Italy. So just drinking in the private moments she’s captured over the years is really a wonderful treat. Lucky for me, she loves dogs and her 1989 book Best Friends is page after page of them with their mover-and-shaker owners. In the above photo, her uncle Gianni Agnelli is shown in his circa 1980 pin-striped slacks and tie (after a long day at the office?) sharing one of those private moments with his Siberian Husky called Dyed Eyes. I don’t know about you, but for me, seeing a captain of industry like Gianni Agnelli enjoying a moment like this with his dog is pretty darn endearing. And Mr. Agnelli also wrote the introduction for the book.
One of my other favorites from Best Friends is the photo below featuring Nini Guatti with his dog Andiamo. Such a great image, captured at the precise moment. I think I’m especially drawn to it because my dad often dressed this way and I really miss him, and what’s better than a dog called Andiamo (let’s go)?!
Priscilla Rattazzi has done a wonderful job of chronicling, in both pictures and words, the relationship between her family’s Golden Retriever and their miniature Dachshund in her 2010 book Luna & Lola. The images are warm in composition and reproduction, the book’s cover is a lovely matte stock complete with slipcover so it feels especially “gifty”. It’s a gorgeous book, certainly, but also an incredibly moving portrait of two dogs, the family that loved them and the time they shared together. Sadly, Luna passed away just before the book was completed, and the book includes a truly touching eulogy written by Ms. Rattazzi’s husband Chris Whittle at the end. Luna enjoyed her life with Lola and the rest of her family, and that really comes across on every page. As with all of Priscilla Rattazzi’s work, I really appreciate having the experience of taking a look. And it gets better: a portion of the proceeds from Luna & Lola will be donated to the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons in Wainscott, New York.
For details on the book Luna & Lola, click here.
For more information on Priscilla Rattazzi, including many press articles and gallery information, click here.
To watch a video of a recent talk by Priscilla Rattazzi at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York click here.
Gianni Agnelli with Dyed Eyes and Nini Guatti with Andiamo courtesy and copyright Priscilla Rattazzi.
Erica Preo is CEO & Creative Director of Pantofola, pure luxury Italian goods for dogs.