Photographer George Cavalletto captured images of his extended family for this monograph, published shortly before his death.

The portraits in What You Love explore the changing nature of love over the course of life — mothers nurturing infants, children discovering the world, young couples bonding, adults enmeshed in the lives they’ve made, elders grappling with mortality — and the hidden connections that bind them into a family.

What You Love also follows the tradition of other photographic luminaries, including Emmet Gowin and Sally Mann, both of whom have made significant contributions to the history of photography with their intimate meditations on family.

— Janelle Lynch, Foreword

Settling each summer with my family in Nova Scotia along the shores of the wild Atlantic, I have wondered if I had captured my version of youthful innocence in my photographs of children and of the people who love them. And at times I have thought that I’ve done just that.

— George Cavalletto, Interview

In my work I aspire to capture pictorially the unique individuality of each family member. I tell them that as they live their lives, it is as if they were writing an autobiographical novel, and that it is visual hints of this distinct life story that I aspire to capture in my photographs. But I also tell them that even though many of my pictures are portraits of them as separate individuals, these portraits most often suggest a shared visual membership in a larger family-based world.

— George Cavalletto, Artist’s Statement

I aspire both to render each member a unique visual presence and at the same time to make visible certain elements that as family members each shares of a larger perceptual world. A family world infused with its own memories, myths, and metaphors — and, to use Walter Benjamin’s phrase, its own “optical unconscious.”

— George Cavalletto, Artist’s Statement

The photograph’s “magical incantation”… visually conjures the dualities of life and death; past and present; holding on and letting go; and striving and achievement, of which this book—and Cavalletto’s life—are remarkable representations.

— Janelle Lynch, Foreword

Cavalletto offers a unique vision of innocence in photographs of children and animals and the people who love them.

— Janelle Lynch, Foreword

About The Photographer

George Cavalletto had been taking pictures for his whole life, but after his wife died he retired from teaching and devoted himself to photography, beginning an intensive course of study at New York’s International Center of Photography and capturing 100,000 images in the span of a decade.

About The Book

Hardcover, 9.75″ x 11.25″ (24.7 x 28.7 cm). 112 pages. Includes more than fifty photographs by George Cavalletto. Foreword by Janelle Lynch.

Designed by David Chickey. Pre-press by Gerard Franciosa. Printed in Verona by Editoriale Bortolazzi Stei.

Purchase Inquiries

Copies of What You Love are available from the photographer’s family for $50 plus shipping. Contact Matthew Cavalletto at