Federico Garolla
Pictures 1951 - 1971

Federico Garolla's professional and creative course through the ticklish thirty years after the war is reflected in the expressive models the whole Italian photography had to deal with. First of all the great development of illustrated magazines, then the coming up of colour photos and the spreading of specialized publishers.
Garolla and his camera went through the change of Italian culture and life style and the ever increasing mass production and use of images, actually not always corresponding to certain value.
The series of pictures in this portfolio offers a partial but meaningful view over Garolla's production between the Fifties and the Sixties. It also gives a proof of his eclecticism with reference to the periodical press of the time. (Garolla mentions the magazines in the note at the side.)
Some introductory images show the country - hurt but lively - in the post-war period. There is the same atmosphere the neorealistic cinema will spread world-wide: a message of poverty, dignity and inventiveness, still far from any TV model. Soon afterwards we observe the extraordinary debut of Italian fashion with the first atelier masters: Capucci, Valentino, Veneziani, Schubert, the Fontana sisters. Models pose in surrealistic urban spaces, still untouched by the neurotic traffic. And then, the glorious epos of the Italian cinema: directors and actors, nowadays symbols of absolute artistic value. De Sica, Germi, Rossellini… beside Anna Magnani, Gassmann, Mangano, Mastroianni. And the artists - the protagonists of an unforgettable Roman season. Writers such as Moravia, Morante, Pasolini, and some myths of the music world, such as Mina and Rubinstein. Most of these photographs are "contextualized" portraits. There is a strong accent on light and shadow, the background tells as much as the foreground and gestures and glances adds up to our memories and opinions. And not rarely they turn them over.
This selection implies the hypothesis of a wider research in Federico Garolla's archives. First of all because, decades after, historical documents, at the most visual documents, acquire their specific cultural value. They are signs which symbolically give evidence both to the unique style of the author and to the atmosphere of a whole period within the history of a country. Moreover, the ongoing project of an organic selection and presentation of Garolla's works will confirm his name within the most interesting protagonists of Italian photojournalism.

Introduction to the portfolio by
Cesare Colombo


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