Standing before you is Paolo di Paolo. At the ripe old age of 94, he was enjoying a peaceful life. But that all changed when he was faced with his former self, the photographer he locked up in a trunk half a century ago. These pages will take you back to post - Second World War Italy, from the journals of an elegant and humble photographer who survived those years through his passion for art, before ending his career prematurely.



What is the meaning and importance of ‘Lost World’ to you?

‘Lost World’ aims to express a historical truth, to show that the period I worked as a photographer no longer exists. It was short and intense, which can only arouse nostalgia.


You documented a special period in Italy, right in the middle of recovery and extraordinary social changes. What was it like to witness all this, experience the creative hype with artists, actors and writers and different life stories as a profession?


Surviving the ‘special period of Italian history’ required a daily dose of virtual morphine. In the end, I found myself far from my world, without suffering - at least until the exhibition popped up. I have to admit that reliving so many moments of successful creativity through those pictures made me feel somewhat sad.


While certain things are visible in your images, some are vivid. Especially the feelings, the mental state of the people. How was it to be a storyteller and document post-war life?

You don’t step into the shoes of a storyteller having the intention of being one. You are a storyteller by instinct, particularly in photography. Telling a story in photography is immensely more difficult than telling a story in literature. The writer has the faculty of choosing the right moment, the suitable environment, even the climate, to write a chapter or even only a paragraph. The photographer who is about to “tell the story” of the moments of his period has only to trust the immediacy of his reactions to the stimuli that are created around him. Real situations don’t allow any replicas: epoch-making pictures are the result of unrepeatable magic moments.