At a recent talk at Rome’s MAXXI Museum, Ferdinando Scianna recounted being asked if he considered himself an artist. Paraphrasing him, he said, No, I’m not an artist, I’m a photographer.
Photographers must find a balance between what exists “out there” and what exists in their personal vision; whereas an artist may concern herself with just the interior version of the subject and its expression. In an article about Luigi Ghirri (page 42), this tension is articulated more thoroughly.
Italy as a subject has always fascinated both artists and photographers – its landscapes and personalities are irresistible. Capturing its light –the particular light of any location – is the true mark of talent. When I first saw an exhibition of Mimmo Jodice’s photographs of Italy, I felt I had indeed “seen” Italy for the first time again. His luminous, minimalistic images immersed me in an emotional landscape; and despite simple forms and shapes, the photographs articulated the potency and darkness that is inherently paired with Italy’s splendor.
In reviewing portfolios for this edition, I have met and revisited this country through the eyes of some of the world’s most astute eyes – always able to renew my perception. The issue includes some photographic greats – including Scianna and Jodice mentioned here – along with a selection of contemporaries and also new talents. Of the photographers’ works, we preferred those whose subject included Italy as a reference point, allowing our readers to perceive a range of stories and feelings through this one, quite beautiful focus.