Photography and Italy (Exposures)

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9781861897695: Photography and Italy (Exposures)
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Back in 1839, with the birth of the art of photography, Italy was not a country but a mosaic of competing states. Later in the nineteenth century the new nation became the focus of the photographic lens as archaeology and tourism took hold. Today, photographers document the country in views ranging in subject matter from industrial wastelands to crowded beaches. In this beautifully illustrated book Maria Antonella Pelizzari traces the history of photography in Italy from its beginnings to the present while also guiding us through the country's history. Pelizarri considers the role of photography in the formation of Italian national identity during times of political struggle, such as the lead up to unification in 1860, and much later in the nationalist wars of Mussolini's regime. While many Italian and foreign photographers - such as Fratelli Alinari or Carlo Ponti, John Ruskin or Kit Talbot - focused on architectural masterpieces, others documented the changing times and political heroes. Pelizzari also considers the visual traditions of photography through the decades - from the collages of Bruno Munari to the neo-realist work of photographers such as Franco Pinna, the bold stylized compositions of Mario Giacomelli or controversial images created by Oliviero Toscani for Benetton advertising in the 1980s. In doing so, she also examines photography's institutional and commercial status as an independent art form in Italian culture. Featuring many previously unpublished images, this book will appeal to art collectors, dealers, museum curators and students of art history and Italian culture.

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Review:

'Photography and Italy nicely captures the potential of these books in which the 'and' poses the question of whether photography comes out of, reflects on or exceeds its historical and cultural contexts.' --- Source

'[the author] takes you from the earliest days of photography in Italy up to the present time, highlighting how it has impacted on Italian culture and even played a part in the formation of the nation's identity. Beautiful photography illustrates throughout, with some rare and previously unpublished shots included.' --- Italia!

'The title of this valuable book is telling; its subject matter is not Italian photography, but photography and Italy. Its early chapters detail how non-Italians made photographic use of Italy as a form of the exotic, antique, and primitive - yielding, over the course of decades, to a native photographic infrastructure, a communications industry, and a fully self-conscious Italian nationalist agenda during the key modernist decades of the early and mid-twentieth century. This complex and intriguing story has never before need told for an English-speaking audience.'
--- Afterimage

About the Author:

Maria Antonella Pelizzari is Associate Professor in the Department of Art, Hunter College, New York. She is also the editor of Traces of India: Photography, Architecture and the Politics of Representation (2003).

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