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Our Hearts Are Still Open: Photobook

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Photography by Tony Maniaty
Essay by Raimond Gaita

A beautiful book for lovers of Paris, seen through a unique lens. Printed on quality German lustre paper, with 64 stunning monochrome images.

A wonderful, limited edition gift signed by Tony Maniaty.


Published by StudioTettix

Hardcover, 76pp.

At the peak of the global Covid pandemic, Australian-born photojournalist Tony Maniaty, based in Paris, documented life in the French capital as its citizens tackled the greatest crisis in a generation. Returning to Sydney, he began a unique collaboration with the Australian philosopher Raimond Gaita - to produce a book that goes beyond the headlines, exploring not only the response of Parisians to the crisis, but its deeper meaning to the notion of a shared, common humanity.

What is it to communicate as humans without tactile experience? What is the value of hope when we’re confronted with overwhelming events? Can we love a city with all our hearts, as Tony Maniaty’s evocative photographs suggest?

With a clarity of style that characterised his best-selling memoir Romulus, My Father, Raimond Gaita dissects elements of the pandemic barely touched on by the daily media. The mantras of ‘earning to live with Covid’ and going back to ‘business as usual’ sidestep greater issues about humanity. Raimond Gaita sees visual art as playing an essential part in moving forward. These photographs, he says, are “an eloquent and compelling reaffirmation of humanism in its most radical form, in the sense of going to the roots of who we are.”

Maniaty’s photographs aren’t the images of Paris we’re used to. “Every day I headed with my cameras to document the changed life of the streets, sans crowds, sans traffic. Paris as none of us had ever seen it before.” But the usual effort of moving around one of the world’s busiest tourist destinations gave way to gentler rhythms, to simple thanks for being alive. And the indomitable spirit of the Parisians shone through. “One summer morning as I was leaving the local boulangerie, I commented to the owner that Paris had become a ghost town. ‘Oui’, she called out, cheerily. ‘The bars and cafes are closed, monsieur, but our hearts are still open!’”

The book’s release coincides with exhibitions of Tony Maniaty’s Paris photographs at The Kirribilli Centre Gallery, North Sydney and the Alliance Francaise de Sydney gallery. 'Our Hearts Are Still Open' will be officially launched by author Helen Garner at Readings Bookstore, Carlton, Melbourne, on 10 March 2022.

This signed first edition is limited to 300 copies.