Many people know of Paolo Pellegrin, Franco Pagetti, and Francesco Zizola, great Italian photojournalists represented by, respectively the Magnum, VII and NOOR photo agencies. Their awards and images are powerful testaments to not only great photography but a deep commitment to issues and themes impacting our world today. The wave of talent from Italy continues to swell as a new generation of Italian photographers are emerging onto the scene. Their tradition of highly creative aesthetics and passionate journalism is further being developed by newer photographers, including Stefano DeLuigi, Davide Monteleone of VII, Jerome Sessini of Magnum and the independent Paolo Marchetti. This list is by no means a complete one, but this subject has been on Ed’s mind quite a bit lately and with the recent controversies surrounding Paolo Pellegrin’s award winning work and the fact the Ed has been judging contests lately that have allowed him to see the undiluted work of these strong photographers, we’ve decided to make this post.
In conversation with Ed, influential Italian photo editor, Chiara Mariani of Corriere Della Sera magazine recently commented on this incredible amount of talent. Photographers represented by agencies such as Pietro Masturzo with OnOff Picture in Rome and Roberto Salomone of Controluce in Naples are among those making an impact in the world of Italian photojournalism. Mariani also recognizes independent photographers making their way onto the scene ranging from nature photographer Stefano Unterthiner to the portraiture of Maki Galimberti to the paparazzi work of Massimo Sestini. Photographers of all backgrounds are making an impact ”Every year an average of six Italian photographers get a World Press Prize.”
So, what’s in the water? Mariani thinks ”the quantity and quality of Italian photojournalists depends partly on our school system, which is still not specialized (and many criticize it for it) and which gives the possibility to be interdisciplinary. Which to me is essential.”
Although the beautiful Italian landscape makes for great scenery for photojournalism and the school systems seem to nurture the development of photographic talent, Mariani admits the difficulty in pursuing a career in photojournalism in Italy. “I do admire those who start this career with passion, who are totally aware they have chosen a difficult path. To them, all my respect and gratitude,” says Mariani. A combination of good conditions for photographic growth and raw talent, makes for great photojournalists coming from Italy today.