Tag Archives: photography

The book, the photo and the stork

Photos move us. They enable us to travel virtually to wherever the scene is captured. They also move us by provoking emotions unleashed by the picture. Travel photography illustrates this double power especially clearly as Giorgia Alù argues in her just-published Journeys Exposed: Women’s Writing, Photography and Mobility (Routledge, 2018). The writers and photographers analysed (Melania Mazzucco, Ornela Vorpsi, Monika Bulaj, Carla Cerati, Elena Gianini Belotti and Anna Maria Riccardi) are variously related to Italy: Italians, Italophones, migrants or expatriates to Italy, or through hyphenated adjectives of nationality, as Italian-American or Italian-Australian. The book begins with an anecdote recounted by Karen Blixen. During a stormy night a man has to go out to fix a leakage in his pond’s dam. He stumbles around, falls over, and takes wrong paths but next morning he sees that the tracks his boots have left in the mud trace the outline of a stork. The stork provides an unsuspected unity for his apparently random movements but one which only becomes visible a posteriori and from a distance. Such traces expose the form of movements, underlying or unintended, in lives, texts and photographs but, like photographs, the form requires the technical processes of exposure to be seen.

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Award of the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2017

ACIS  is very pleased to announce that the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2017 has been awarded to Monique Webber (University of Melbourne) for her essay ‘”In Search of Universal Icons”: Interrogating the Superstar Phenomenon of Early Modern Art through the Photography of Jo-Anne Duggan’. It shows how Jo-Anne Duggan’s photographs – notably those in her exhibitions Before the Museum (2000-2002), Impossible Gaze (2002-2005), and Wondrous Possessions (2010) – explore the impact of the passage of time on the works of forgotten masters and the way we now reflect on them. The essay reveals how Jo-Anne’s approach to Renaissance artworks uncovers the complex marks of superstar culture, the dominant form of our contemporary engagement with art and often regarded as a distinctive symptom of the modern age.  We are also very pleased to give the Highly Commended award to Laelie Greenwood (Monash University) for her essay ‘Private Memory, Public Spaces: An Examination of Memory and Monument within Italian Immigrant Experience in Carlton’.  She analyses the architecture of Malbourne’s Carlton area, using Jo-Anne Duggan’s writings to explore the ways in which Italian-Australians developed a distinctive architectural style in their house facades and renovations to convey their enduring links to the country they had left.

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Terra nostra

terra_nostra_cover_web_1024x1024In Terra Nostra the Palermo-born photographer Mimi Mollica explores the effects of the mafia on Sicily, documenting the damage it has inflicted on the physical and social landscape of the island and painting a dark picture of extortion, corruption and claustrophobia. The view is bleak, seedy and haunting, the violence itself mostly off-stage but its consequences, direct and indirect, all too visible. Mollica’s photo-essay is introduced by one of the island’s most active anti-mafia magistrates, Roberto Scarpinato.


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War in the Sunshine: the British in Italy 1917-1918

estorick-collection-1024x858This is the title of the current exhibition at the newly renovated Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in Highbury, London. The Collection, opened in 1998, concentrates on Futurist paintings (Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà) and works by Giorgio De Chirico, Amedeo Modigliani, Giorgio Morandi and Mario Sironi. ‘War in the Sunshine‘ (13 Jan – 19 March) covers the largely forgotten British participation in the final stages of the war on one of its most difficult and dangerous fronts – North East Italy – depicted by official war artists (Sidney Carline, himself a pilot) and photographers (Ernest Brooks and William Brunell).

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‘Almost spectral in their otherness’

410martin_bogren_italia_special_edition_with_printThat’s a reviewer’s comment on the way the people captured in Martin Bogren’s recent Italia (Max Ström 2016) look.  The Swedish photographer spent three years in Naples, Palermo, Bologna and Turin to produce a black-and-white portrayal of streets and subjects which seem suspended in time. ‘Been wandering around for days now. Street after street. With a heavy heart and loneliness as a constant companion. I’ve forgotten why I’m here and what I’m doing. A camera clutched in my hand, increasingly fearful, with a cowardly posture’.  You can see the striking results of this apparently forlorn enterprise here.


Paul Strand in Italy and elsewhere

125620353-d31c2c24-8be9-4dc6-aea7-24e9a1d86756A major retrospective exhibition of the work of the American photographer Paul Strand (1890-1976) will be held at the V&A in London from 19 March to 3 July 2016. Strand worked in many places: in Italy he is best remembered for his collaboration with the neorealist Cesare Zavattini in Un paese (Einaudi, 1955), a portrait of the people, objects and landscapes in Luzzara, Zavattini’s birthplace in Emilia-Romagna. ‘Wherever I happened to be,’ Paul Strand said, ‘I sought the signs of a long partnership that give each place its special quality and create the profiles of its people. . . . ‘. The letters between Strand and Zavattini, illustrating this ambition, were published in 2005 to mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Un paese.

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In the TLS of November 6

TLS_Cover_November_1189764mThis week’s Times Literary Supplement (6 November) has several items to interest Italianists. Joe Farrell reviews Tim Parks’ A Literary Tour of Italy, describing it as ‘an invitation to share enjoyment, bringing a narrative brio to the summary of works unlikely to be known to English-language readers’.  David Collard notes a new translation of Sam Dunn è morto (1917) by Bruno Corra (1892-1976), a briefly Futurist author for whom the reviewer borrows the description ‘a figure of major minorness’. For Venetophiles and anyone who has an urge to follow complete strangers wherever they lead, Lucy Scholes signals the appearance of a new edition – ‘a beautiful work of art in itself’ – of Sophie Calle’s Suite Vénitienne, originally published in 1983.

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Italian Australian: Creating Culture, Defining Diaspora

image005An exhibition, Italian Australian: Creating Culture, Defining Diaspora, will open at the Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Carlton, on Wednesday 26 August at 6.30pm with a talk by Professor Ghassan Hage from the University of Melbourne (booking required). The exhibition will run from 27 August to 16 October 2015 (free entry; opening hours: Tuesday – Friday 10-5; Saturday 12.30-5). Wogs, Dagos, Post-War migrants, New Australians, Zips, Marios and Marias, I-Ties, Multicultural Australia. All these phrases have been used to categorise and describe the Italian diaspora in Australia. This exhibition addresses these labels, some embraced, some forgotten, some derogatory, by asking the question: Can we define ourselves? Is it possible to document the commonalities of experience and of culture and to start to trace the transition from migrant group to diaspora? Documentary and street photography by Melbourne photographer, Gracie Lolicato along with the portraits and recorded interviews of around 200 volunteers result in an exhibition that may confirm but also challenge your impressions of Italian-Australians. This is not a nostalgic gaze into tradition, nor is it a definitive contemporary docu­ment, but rather an introduction to the idea that it is possible to be both Australian and Italian and to feel like you are neither.

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Life in Bonegilla, 1947-1971

image003The Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre was the first and largest of 23 such centres in Australia. Originally an army camp, it was converted to accommodate and educate migrants and help them to find work. Between 1947 and 1971 many of the 350,000 Italian migrants (42,000 of them under the Assisted Passage Scheme) and several thousand refugees from the areas annexed by Yugoslavia after 1945 passed through Bonegilla. This exhibition of photographs, Braving Bonegilla, 4-14 June 2015 at the Museo Italiano, Carlton, documents the daily life of Italians in the camp: families striving to make their huts home under Spartan conditions, men studying English, groups of friends playing music and enjoying outings, as well as photographs taken during the so-called Bonegilla riots in 1952, and pictures of a wedding and a funeral. The opening event on 3 June at 6.30pm (RSVP here or call (03) 9349 9021) will include men and women who lived through Bonegilla.

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The Heroic Years of Italian-Australian Cycling

image002On Tuesday 20 May at 6.30pm the Museo Italiano (199 Faraday Street, Carlton 3053) is launching an exhibition of photographs from the Italian Historical Society and private collections illustrating The Heroic Years of Italian-Australian Cycling which will run until 18 July. The exhibition also contains memorabilia (period bicycles, original cycling gear and competition medals) made available by the Borsari and the Catalano families. It covers not only the sport but also the people and the community who made cycling a point of pride, an element of cultural identity and social integration. For those wanting to know more about the history of Italian cycling and cyclists, John Foot’s Pedalare! Pedalare! is an excellent starting-point.

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