November 21, 2018

These days the air in Milan is buzzing, not only because of the icy cold but also for the launch of the Photo Vogue Festival (the first fashion photography festival in Italy) from 15th to 18th November 2018.

Among the various events organized, I participate in a very interesting talk at BASE Milano where – on the occasion of the collective exhibition “ITALIAN PANORAMA” at Armani / Silos from November 15th to December 9th 2018 – the twenty Italian photographers exposed are told in an open dialogue with Alessia Glaviano (Brand Visual Director – Senior Photo Editor Vogue Italy), Francesca Marani (Photo Editor Vogue Italy) and Chiara Bardelli Nonino (Photo Editor Vogue Italia).

The talk opens with an interesting question posed by Alessia Glaviano to the twenty authors present: “What would you like to communicate with your work and what is fashion photography for you?” Equally interesting are the responses of young photographers. For Leonardo Scotti, fashion photography is that kind of creative production that gives more freedom of expression, where you can experiment more.

For Clara Giaminardi, on the other hand, she is a tool for exploring and telling narratives of identity and gender. She is very interested in feminist literature, how women are conceived in fashion photography. According to Clara there are new narratives in the last ten years that have brought photographers both men and women, but especially many new photographers to tell the female body in a different way. With her work Clara wants to express and show the public the beauty that is present in everything, in those imperfect or in things considered less beautiful by society.

After the talk we go all together passionately to the opening of the exhibition “ITALIAN PANORAMA” at Armani / Silos. The project stems from the collaboration between Giorgio Armani and Vogue Italia and is aimed at enhancing and supporting some of the most original young interpreters of fashion photography.

On the top floor of the museum of fashion and art dedicated to Armani style are the works of the twenty selected authors: Luca Anzalone, Maddalena Arcelloni, Nicolò Bagnati, Maurizio Bavutti, Alessio Boni, Luca Campri, Dario Catellani, Giovanni Corabi, Bea De Giacomo, Vito Fernicola, Alessandro Furchino Capria, Clara Giaminardi, Adrianna Glaviano, Arianna Lago, Francesco Nazardo, Dario Salamone, Scandebergs (Stefano Colombini and Alberto Albanese), Leonardo Scotti, Alexandra Von Fuerst, Paolo Zerbini.

I immediately noticed that many of the photographic works on display are a hybrid between documentary photography and fashion photography. Many shots are united by some themes such as the reflection on the dissolving of the boundaries between identity, genres and photographic categories, the return to analogue, attention to social and political issues, the theme of modern masculinity, male sexuality and homosexuality , the narrative, the representation of the body (especially female) and of gestures. All the photographers on display differ from each other by the individuality of the research and their personal vision of the topics covered. All twenty exposed authors strongly represent the current Italian panorama of fashion photography and become the spokesperson of a well-defined contemporary aesthetic.

I remain fascinated by the shots of young photographers in the exhibition, where the female body is at the center of the composition and the story of these authors. The woman is told in a different way, compared to some time ago, just by other women. The female body is no longer masked, made up, modified, improved but, on the contrary, is shown in its perfect imperfection, natural. The final result is a portrait of a real woman, without filters, characterized by poetic gestures and at the same time full of strength. The image of the woman is no longer reduced to mere aesthetic appearance but becomes something else, something more profound, refined and elegant. One of the works that struck me most in this sense is that of Maddalena Arcelloni, where the presence of the female form and body is predominantly seen, almost exasperated by incisive gestures that contract and dilate the forms of the human figure. Another interesting work is that of Alexandra Von Fuerst where the female silhouette is central and absolute. In his works there is a celebration of the female form in its deepest essence. The shots of Alexandra differ from the others for an elegant aesthetic of textures and shapes. What is most striking about his photographic work is the essentiality of the pose and the subject that at the same time is strong and captivating, almost provocative.

Also worthy of note is the work of Luca Anzalone whose shots full of vibrant tones are characterized by sensory and tactile experiences due to his obsessions for texture, light and touch. All his works are very linked to nature.

Another job that has impressed me pleasantly is that of Maurizio Bavutti. In his images the woman returns to be the protagonist. His work reminded me of the works and the atmospheres of the Flemish painters, both for the colors used and for the subject, the environment and the poses of the female figures.

Equally significant is the work of Leonardo Scotti, who impressed me with his shots characterized by incisive and scenographic subjects and locations, with strong and perturbing colors; all inserted in a mistral way in a surreal space and wrapped in a great halo of mystery.

Text & Photo: Valentina Olivetti @valeolivetti