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Anna Gabriel Eye-D Event in Mailand

The Eyes Of The Gabriels

Anna Gabriel presents her book "Eye-D"

This autumn, Anna Gabriel's book Eye-D was presented in Milan (we already published a short news item about it). It shows close-ups of the eye parts of many famous stars, including David Byrne, Helena Christensen, Willem Defoe, The Edge, Noel Gallagher, Annie Lennox, Susan Sarandon, Benjamin Zephaniah and Peter Gabriel.
Anna herself says: "To photograph an eye is to see into another world, a deeper emotional world. These photographs are like small windows into houses that we pass every day but never look inside. In a time where people are looking at screens and experiencing less eye contact with each other, I am happy to put out this book that takes a deeper look into the eyes of these famous faces."
Anna und Peter GabrielPeter Gabriel is only a marginal figure in this project, because he has nothing to do with the photographs in the book to begin with. It is his daughter's "baby", but of course he is helping to market it. It was not easy for her to get the book off the ground, because it is already a very special idea that is not exactly suitable for the general public. Gabriel, however, supported his daughter with contacts for the shootings, which allowed the project to really grow. A few years ago, Anna went looking for a publisher and found support in Simone Romani from Rizzoli Lizard Publishing (part of the Mondadori Group), where Eye-D has now finally been published. Romani was also the one who organised the two presentations.

First there was an event on 21 October 2021 on a rather small scale. It was something of an "extra" for friends and employees of the Rizzoli Lizard publishing house and was not advertised publicly. This pre-event had the character of a private meeting and took place in the rooms of the Fondazione Sozzani, a kind of art gallery and bookshop dedicated to the promotion of photography, fashion and visual arts. The rooms are located at Corso Como No. 10 (in Milan's nightlife district). Images from the book were also on display there for the event. All in all, only about 30 people were invited. There were no speeches, no programme, just a relaxed get-together with Anna and Peter, who took their time and signed books. LPs or CDs were not included, only the book.

Peter seemed very relaxed. He had only arrived at Milan airport at 7 p.m. and drove directly to the appointment, where he appeared only 35 minutes later. When he came in, he hugged his daughter and it seemed as if they hadn't seen each other for a long time. Peter then took photos with the guests and encouraged them to take off their masks. The event was of course Corona-compliant and only accessible with a "green passport", so you had to be vaccinated.

The next day, 22 October 2021, there was the big book presentation. It took place in the so-called Santeria - more precisely: in its event area called Teatro Toscana 31 (an event location with about 100 seats). Tickets could be bought publicly, and they were all gone. Checking the green passes at the entrance took longer. The show was supposed to start at 6.30 pm, but Peter and Anna didn't take the stage until 7.05 pm.
The whole thing was something like a big press conference where Anna presented her book, with her father as a special guest. Basically, there was a conversation between the two of them and Marco Zatterin (deputy director of La Stampa, one of the most important newspapers in Italy) and Carlo Massarini (a very well-known Italian journalist). Pictures from the book were projected on a screen in the background and they talked about them. Anna talked about the story behind the photo, Peter about artistic connections or anecdotes about the motif. Everything was in English.
Anna said that the eyes in the photographs show a lot of the inside of people, while at the same time they look outwards. She had also thought about juxtaposing the eyes of animals with those of humans, but nothing had materialised yet.

Armando Gallo and Guido Harari (both photographers who have worked a lot with Peter) were also in the audience. They were invited to welcome Peter on stage and ask him a question. Armando Gallo remembers taking this photo of the whole Gabriel family in bed very many years ago. Anna was about 4, Melanie 2. He found it remarkable that Mel always wanted so much to go towards the camera, and later it was she who also went on stage - together with her father.
Peter told various stories throughout the evening. When asked if he, as an ex-drummer, actually had a drum kit at home, he said that he had one lying around, but that his youngest son sat on it more often than he did. He himself had never been particularly good, only very enthusiastic, and if he didn't play it often now, everyone but himself was grateful for it.

6About the tour with Sting, Peter was asked what it was like to be on stage with someone as important as yourself. Gabriel replied that Sting was a great frontman and this standing together was a bit of a mixture of competition and fun. It had taken time to settle in together and get to know each other better. Peter Gabriel was able to be very involved in the show visuals because that was more important to him than Sting, he said. Musically, they both copied each other. In a way, everything is less demanding together than alone. It can be very creative when the fun is in the foreground. When asked what he brought home from the experience, PG said "money" and then laughed out loud with everyone.

There was also some talk about the video for Gabriel's song Father, Son, which Anna Gabriel made. It was actually a clip with grandfather, father and son. This idea also came from Anna, who thought it would be good to add the third generation to this generation song. Peter said he was very happy to have made this whole family experience. In the video you can also see a few shots of the yoga classes he once took with his father. He said that there was a moment when something inside him went painfully "snap", he burst into tears and his father held him as if he were a little boy again. Peter said he was incredibly grateful for those experiences. If you have people you love, you should spend time with them and have special experiences, because you don't have these people around forever.

Very mischievously and charmingly awkwardly, Gabriel was asked how new music was coming along. Peter confirmed that he had been working for a fortnight with his band (with Manu Katché on drums) on 23 different songs. Backstage, he later added that there could be many more songs, but that he would concentrate on these 23 now. Of course, all of them would not make an album. He was also still not happy with some of the lyrics.

At the end of the event, there was the opportunity to have the book signed by Peter and Anna. For reasons of Corona protection, the audience was called onto the stage one by one. Again, no album covers were considered and no selfies were allowed. Those who did not have the book had to leave the room.
After one hour and 15 minutes, the event came to an end. Further promotional events for the book Eye-D are probably not planned at the moment.
The book can be ordered at several amazon outlets, i.e. amazonUK. There is also a website with more info about the book.


Additional information from backstage:

Our correspondent in Italy was able to find out that Gabriel is not interested in writing an autobiography. He has no time for it and even if he could find a good writer or journalist who could help him, it would take too much time because Gabriel knows that he would want to correct too many things.

Anna also revealed that she had spent the whole Lockdown at Real World. She found a flight three days before everything closed so she could stay home with her father and family. In the meantime, she had gone back to New York.

Correspondent: Luca Blukaos Biondi
Photos: Luca Blukaos Biondi
Editor: Thomas Schrage


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