The 9th edition of Fotografia Europea in Reggio Emilia – European Photography Festival extended to July 27th


Pic-nic on the Baltic Sea - Herbert List Photo Courtesy @Magnum

Pic-nic on the Baltic Sea – Herbert List Photo Courtesy @Magnum

The Reggio Emilia 9th edition of FE Fotografia Europea, formerly closing on Sunday 15th June, has extended all the major exhibitions to July 27th thanks to the enormous critic and visitor success…So don’t miss out the chance to enjoy this extraordinary Photography Festival!! It provides a unique chance for the audience to engage with a wide programme of institutional exhibitions, art gallery openings, the Off-Festival around town and a busy line-up of hands-on workshops, lectures and family activities.

This year’s theme – Seeing. An infinite gaze – focuses on the work and ethos of Luigi Ghirri, the Reggio Emila born artist who died prematurely in 1992, whose research and huge body of work defined a landmark in international photography of the ’70s and ’80s.

Luigi Ghirri Marina di Ravenna 1986 Courtesy Fototeca Biblioteca Panizzi, Reggio Emilia ©Eredi Ghirri

Luigi Ghirri Marina di Ravenna 1986 Courtesy Fototeca Biblioteca Panizzi, Reggio Emilia ©Eredi Ghirri

Luigi Ghirri named his artist’s studio “infinity”: this choice signalled his customary habit of focusing his camera on infinity.

His aim was to widen up the image space as well as to extend the gaze as far as possible, in order to capture all those objects lost at the horizon. He didn’t believe in seizing the easy and immediate effect in his images, whereas he sought a slower interpretation of his photographs and a careful reflection on the visible beyond the noticeable; in his shots he pursued the thoughts and stories inhabiting the visible.

His photos opened up the space for the memory and imagination, in antithesis to what many consider the essence of photography: the ethos of the instant, the freezing of the moment.

The subjects of my photographs are those of the everyday… they belong to our customary field of vision: hence, these are images we are used to enjoy passively. These images are charged with new significance as the camera isolates them from a familiar surrounding, creating a new narrative” (Ghirri, “Paesaggi di cartone”, in Niente di antico sotto il sole. Turin: SEI, 1997, 17).

Paris 1976 from the series Kodachrome, c type print

Paris 1976 from the series Kodachrome (self-portrait), c type print

In his practice Luigi Ghirri questions Cartier-Bresson’s ethos of the “decisive moment” as he’s interested in including objects, thoughts and memory in his images, as well as in expanding the meaning of their photographs to what is not noticeable, rather than seizing a particular instant.

He enlarges the vision of his images either to the infinite/infinity, to the imagination or to the footprint of the past and suggests a sense of transition and fluidity of time through his subjects.

Rather then capturing a definite vision and delimit the image within its edges, he includes the reality out of view, somewhere beyond the picture’s frame.

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What I find particularly fascinating and even mesmerizing about Ghirri’s work is the emphasis on the gaze, on the observer’s look rather than on the subject of his images: he alters the perception that we have of the world, without proposing a single path to follow, rather providing us with the tools we need to find the one we’re looking for.

Other highlights of the Festival are:

Alchimies @Chiostri di San Pietro –  Solo show of the French photographer Sarah Moon

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Speciale diciotto venticinque. Vedere le cose perdute – where 60 young photographers between 18 and 25 year old c0nfront their idea of loss

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Herbert List – The Magical in Passing. A retrospective @Chiostri di San Domenico. 100 works of the Magnun German photographer on display for the first time in an Italian retrospective.

herbert list The Bird Hide Park London 1936

herbert list The Bird Hide Park London 1936

Illusionismo Surreale. Fantasie fotografiche del primo Novecento in Europa. @Palazzo Casotti

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