A photographic journey
along the walls of Europe
_Donald of Tol
Lasciate ogni speranza, o voi che entrate … (Thou entering here, let go of all hope). A quote from Dante’s ‘Inferno’ (La divina commedia) and one of the messages that photographer Donald van Tol found at the entrance to a school in Grosseto, Italy.
Since time immemorial, people have left messages in public spaces. Walls, benches and bus shelters are described with names of loved ones, heart cries. political slogans and faint jokes. Everyone sees them, but usually we walk past them without paying attention to it. For those who look closer sees texts that can touch and make you wonder: who wrote this? Why? What’s the story behind this?
Donald van Tol started photographing texts he saw on walls and benches in his hometown of Groningen a few years ago. In the meantime, he photographs texts in all kinds of cities in Europe – from Copenhagen to Lisbon, from Rome to Prague – that excite him, but also make him curious. Words that can mean anything and have been left behind by different people.
From the more than hundreds of images he photographed over time, he made a beautiful selection of 70 photos bundled in a book.
Sleep Naked takes you along European walls on which ordinary people curse, sigh and laugh. Intriguingly, and feature images that move, comfort and provide recognition. But above all, they set the imagination – the most beautiful of all human traits – in motion.