Though the photographers knew very well that they were rewriting the chronicle of Italian photography, they may not have been quite so aware that they were also writing their history countrys as it went on its daily rounds… Vicki Goldberg\n\nLa Strada is a photographic history of Italy from the end of the Second World War to the early 1970s, with 162 photos by 64 photographers selected from the Keith de Lellis collection, the prestigious black and white archives in New York. The images are introduced in an essay (Italian and English) by Vicki Goldberg, photography critic and historian and contributor to the New York Times. The photographers include Mario De Biasi, Nino Migliori, Gianni Berengo Gardin, Mario Giacomelli and an extensive group of lesser known or unknown artists whose work is seen for the first time in this book. With the definitive passing of Mussolini years photography pretty babies, swans and old peasants and the kind still subordinate to the figurative arts, post-war Italian photographers operated in a country half destroyed by bombs and politically divided, a land of farms and little industry. From north to south the subject portrayed is always the road which, in its natural theatricality and variety of landscape, offered an almost inexhaustible series of themes and situations. Many languages are employed in the composition of the images, ranging from a neo-realist sensibility (these were the years of the cinematographic poetics elaborated by Rossellini, Zavattini and De Sica) to a reiterated recourse to the portrait which is sometimes charged with openly expressionist tones (Zovetti, M. Cattaneo). Then there is aesthetic research that presses on to the limits of the figurative: passers-by and means of transport that move on streets made of flagstones, cobbles and paving slabs that design geometries of a metaphysical flavour (Ranati, Spadoni, Crepaz, Ronconi, Bornaccini). There is also powerful use of the panoramic view to shoot broad sections of crowds and trajectories of movement. Shots from above (Migliori) reveal urban spaces in a new, previously unknown spatiality.
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