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The Instagram phenomenon Sam Youkilis debuts with his first monograph: Somewhere (published by Loose Joints). The American-born photographer and filmmaker presents his beloved pictures taken over the last six years of his life between New York and Italy as a 500-pages-long paper collection broken into fifty chapters. Youkilis’s first photobook is a chronicle of his daily life, experiences, and encounters that seduces the viewers and invites them to join his perspective on life and to enjoy his quotidian, but never banal, takes on it.
Currently based in Italy, Sam rose to fame thanks to his Instagram account, where he documents everyday life and proposes a real, yet fascinating visual narrative of Italy’s dolce vita. By now, he has an established reputation and a loyal audience of over half a million followers. Over the last years, his photographic archive continued to grow and to fascinate many through daily photography and posting. Now, Youkilis debuts with his first monograph.

Italy, the country in which Youkilis is now based, plays a central role in his photography. However, a country that is so famous for representations of its renowned monuments and landscapes is never predictable nor repetitive in the photographer’s work. Indeed, it is not in well-known, conventionally beautiful, and traditionally proposed perspectives that the photographer is interested in. Youkilis has the ability to capture a moment in time, a mundane, alive action or interaction which, as such, represents a fundamental part of Italy and its culture: the carpe diem.

It is this ability to seize the moment in a frame, or a short video, that makes Youkilis’s archive so unique and popular. His pictures and videos have something else that fascinates his followers. While maintaining a connection and a focus on what is real, Youkilis captures another crucial and beloved side of Italy: la dolce vita. His everyday reportage is an insight into Italy and its rhythm, colours, and people; it captures life, but it is never banal. We see sunsets, food, cityscapes and landscapes. The insides of his home and the sometimes hectic, sometimes slow, outside. We see small details and the bigger picture. We see real people – elderly, children, teenagers – and their actions and interactions – lovers, drivers, workers, passer-by.

Despite documenting such day-to-day, pictoresque life with a simple iPhone, Youkilis never fails to cure perspective, symmetry, light, and focus in his photography. However, as to fit his subjects, his technique does not aim at perfection: it is in between. “In medio stat virtus,” the Romans would say. This (im)perfect balance enables his photography to work on social media and in a photobook. Experiencing this visual representation of life through a monograph offers another unique perspective and view on the ordinary, and yet non-commonplace, Italian life. Somewhere has the charm which captured half a million followers on Instagram and the potential to captivate half a million more.

Lucrezia Maciocco

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