Australia cultural architecture cultural heritage documentary photography Genevieve Maynard Italy sculpture South Africa



// Genevieve is originally from Sydney, Australia, now based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She made the transition from music to photography after relocating. She shared some of her documentary photos from a series about aedicules – votive shrines of Italy – from Venice, Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and Rome.

“I find many surprising parallels between making images and making music,” she says. She is now learning about historical print processes and interested in the interaction between the digital image and the uniqueness of the older printing processes.

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”

Ansel Adams

What draws you to the arts?

“It makes me feel human. After the lockdowns of the first year and a half of the pandemic one of my first outings was to the theatre. It was joyful, liberating, intense. The whole audience was on its feet. I marvel at people’s creativity and how generous artists of all types are with the thing that is most central and often fragile – their creativity.”

What do you like best about your aedicule photo series?

“I wasn’t quite sure what I would do with the original 450 photos, but as I worked through them an evolving aesthetic assisted with choosing the final 90-or-so images. Some are beautiful, some beautifully ugly, and some I think I might even dislike in various ways when viewed individually. But when I look at them all lined up in my gallery they seem like exquisite miniatures, precious jewels, tiny enamels, and all are unique.”

Aedicules are small shrines that frame a religious subject, much like church tabernacles. They are supported by columns and may be either open on all sides or recessed into a wall. They originated in Ancient Rome and developed through the centuries, eventually found on Gothic buildings. “They embody the most eternal and common aspects of our everyday existence. They speak of what it is to be human, to love, to lose, to have faith or fear. To have hope,” Genevieve informed us. Aediculae are cared for and maintained by the community or by family members.

“I admit to having become more than slightly obsessed with finding and photographing street shrines in Italy this year. I’d seen them on previous trips of course; they are everywhere, and possibly so common that you don’t ‘see’ them after a while. I came back with over 450 photos of aedicule, so exquisite in their diversity, their history, their cultural significance. Those I encountered range in age from the 16th century to the present. They are not generally considered serious works of art or architecture but may have immense value, significance, and history within those communities. There’s a wide stylistic diversity in the shrines ranging from works by quite well-known artists to simpler folk art pieces. This project became a journey of deliberate off-course wandering from one place to the next, just in case there was a treasure down that alley, or around the next corner, or maybe even the one after that.”

Genevieve will be printing some of these images digitally in colour, and some using the cyanotype process. She plans to apply encaustic and other textural treatments. “I hope to relocate the digital images temporally through the use of the historical printing process and one of the oldest painting techniques.”

We certainly look forward to seeing the results of Genevieve´s artistic experiments when she is ready to show them to the world. Like her, we too marvel at human creativity, and artists´ ideas never cease to amaze us.

Click on the photos to see a larger image.


To see more of her photography visit Genevieve´s Instagram page and her website.

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