GIGI GIANNUZZI….at the “Kibbutz”, Brooklyn…December 8, 2008

I was just getting ready to write my goodbye to Gigi Giannuzzi , founder of Trolley Books, who died Christmas Eve of pancreatic cancer at a very young 49….but I just cannot do it….So Candy and Eva went back through the Burn (Road Trips) archive and found this story I wrote….Nothing I could write now would be better than this one I think…Gigi was definitely a man after my own heart..Crazy, irreverent, and passionate about presenting in a special way the work of great photographers…The man loved books and the man loved photographers and the man made it happen….I love you Gigi….



nobody loves books more than Gigi Giannuzzi….he loves them so much that he publishes instinctively and without any thought of “commercial appeal”…he does not do “readership tests”….he goes by his gut and then scrambles like a madman to try to sell enough of his little masterpieces to be able to go on to the next….

Gigi claims he was “conceived in Sicily,  born in Rome, and never grew up in Turin”..if you know Italians, Gigi pretty much has it covered..Trolley Books, his mastermind and “baby” has for ten years created quite a stir in the publishing world…”unconventional wisdom” comes to mind when i think of Gigi….and his authors form a prestigious list..

Philip Jones Griffiths, Carie Levy, Stanley Greene, Nina Berman, Deirdre O’Callaghan, Tom Stoddart, Alex Majoli, Paolo Pellegrin,  and Alixandra Fazzina just to name a few…please go to: to see Gigi’s entire lineup of artists and titles….

you may not find Trolley Books everywhere….like many fine objects, you have to look to find…and Gigi is the first to recount the trials and frustrations of the book publishing world….if you wanted to go into a business , you would not try to make photo book publishing your business…nope, only love gets you to do what he does…

last night Gigi slept on my sofa…but, not for long….he stayed up late and got up kind of guy!!

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Source: Photo District News

Gigi Giannuzzi, the founder of Trolley Books and publisher of innovative and award-winning photo books by Philip Jones Griffiths, Paolo Pellegrin, Alex Majoli, Stanley Greene, Carl De Keyzer, Nina Berman, Alixandra Fazzina, Thomas Dworzak, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin and others, died December 24 in London. Giannuzzi had announced in June that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was 49, according to Hannah Watson, his longtime business partner in Trolley Books.

Born in Rome, Luigi Giannuzzi (known to all as “Gigi”), grew up in northern Italy. He worked as an editor at the book publisher Allemandi, but left in 1997 when he got a chance to collaborate on a catalogue of Nan Goldin’s work. Its success inspired him to launch his own company, West Zone, but after five years he ran into financial trouble. In 2001, he found financial backing to start a new company, based in Venice. Trolley got its name when Giannuzzi used a shopping cart to push his book proposals around the floor of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Watson says. In its first two years alone, Trolley Books published such award-winning books as Alex Majoli’s Leros, Chien Chi-Chang’s The Chain, Carl De Keyzer’s Zona: Siberian Prison Camps, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin’s Ghetto, and Thomas Dworzak’s Taliban. Giannuzzi published the first books of many photographers, including Deirdre O’Callaghan, whose book Hide That Can won an ICP Infinity Award, and Carrie Levy’s 51 Months. In 2005, Trolley Books won a citation from the Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards for outstanding contribution to book publishing.


16 thoughts on “Gigi Giannuzzi – Goodbye…”

  1. My condolences for the personal loss of your friend. Sad news and a big loss also for photography. I never got to meet him, but my heart sunk several notches when I opened Burn and saw this article.


    Gigi was a maniac but he pushed the edges of book publishing and made sure some very important books got published that would not have otherwise….as i mentioned in the piece, the book publishing business is in general not a very good business….if you look carefully behind the scenes of the best from Trolley, or Aperture, or Phaidon or Steidl or any publisher whose book you admire , you will find the very best books were published by someone with heart and passion who was most likely not a “bottom line” type…the “brands” might later be attached to many books…but look at the great ones…always “a Gigi” behind them….

    cheers, david

  3. AMIGO:

    yea, he had some really generous things to say about Bones…and his attention to detail and to get shit was such a gorgeous thing, but what I was struck by was his quiet but ferocious fucking love of photographers/photography….a rare beauty in a world filled by cynicism and too-cool-for-school folk…a big loss

    take your time, always here …just get some of that cake back from the sea ;)))

  4. thanks for the article from the archive. more people like him are need today.
    my condolences, too. it is difficult to find the right words, especially if one dies so young.

  5. Im sorry frostfrog that you never met him.gigi got the highest marks ever at the best economics university of italy the bocconi and was not surpassed making money was not his main aim when he got into trolley.he had an amazing court case over his books being burnt in germany with the judge using the german word for shit to discribe his books which he said was obviously one of the few words he understood in german.looking at the social photo journalisum books each hold a poginent key to how the world stands in the aquariuos age.they cover a fair share of the disparities within humanity and the head count of how many lifes if the book could change for the better are enormous i think thats where his emergency to publish came from always with the highest craftsmanship that he could get, never cutting quality.its extremely sad that istitutions liberies and foundations dont have the balls to give the public free acsess to these books.i feel humanity me included ends up being a headless chicken without of his many devoted desiples he changed my life and i hope he changes yours too .please excuse my spelling

  6. Thank you, Madame Villon, for sharing both the gain Gigi brought you and the pain his loss has cost you. To be honest, compared to many here at Burn I am a bit of a Philistine and I don’t come across too many Trolley books up here – I don’t think I have come across any – but I was introduced to Gigi’s work as a publisher during a visit to New York City maybe four years ago when I heard all kinds of good words spoken about him. I was most impressed – enough that it genuinely shook me to open Burn today and see David’s tribute, which was how I learned. Thanks to your encouragement, I will purchase one of Gigi’s Trolley books by the new year and see where it might take me.

  7. David: Life is weird, and rewarding. Today I was sending my wife’s son a subscription to National Geographic and I decided to search for a young photographer (30) who had just made the cover of Nat Geo with his photos of the Chesapeake Bay…It was 1974 in Richmond, and I had just started an ad agency. You used your obvious talent to shoot children and families for a brochure for a planned community, Salisbury. Your work helped me keep the client, and get others over the past almost 40 years. It was exciting to see the other assignments you excelled at over the many years.And to share your world travels.
    I look forward now to keeping up through Burn.

    Perhaps, my wife’s son, a budding photographer in Phoenix, can qualify for a 2013 workshop. We think he is a budding talent:

    (So sorry to read about Gigi. Cancer is horrible. It took my son two years ago at 48)

  8. a civilian-mass audience

    “No one ever achieved greatness by playing it safe.”

    GIGI…we are sending love to you and to all our friends and family Upstairs…!!!

  9. eduardo sepulveda

    is not new if somebody says that business mentality ‘ruins’ most of things… not only in photography…
    …and that sometimes can be confused with organization, which can be in fact very important, but not necessarily the same thing.

    …and that like love or life most of the best things don’t have anything to do with gain or loss… that’s pure reality, not idealism.

    grazie mille Gigi!

  10. sad to hear gigi`s gone-but has he really gone?his books live on!had many laughs with him and remember his first trolley office and using the toilet there!he- a sparkling spirit he burned the candle at both ends -said i was unpublishable-loved him more!great guy.

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