It’s grey in Milan, today. Threatening to rain. But this is a Milan I love—black, white and gray. It’s a city to be photographed monochromatically—desaturated, elemental, reduced to geometry and emotion. And so, for the umpteenth time, Gianni Berengo Gardin comes to mind, a photographer I have meant to share with you many times, a photographer who has captured the soul of this country so well and preserved it in black and white.
Berengo Gardin was one of the first whose work I came to know when I moved here, and his images, like good friends, gave me a way to understand this country. I believe he is loved here, and generally considered to be the master of some of the most representative images of Italians and Italian life for the past 50 years. I owe him what many of us owe photographers we will never meet: gratitude for giving me a grip on my very own humanity and an understanding of the context in which I myself am now a player.
Why haven’t I heard about him before?
I don’t know. I hadn’t either, and when I saw his work, I had the same reaction. His work is consistently wonderful. Check out “The Italians”… if you can find it, it’s worth buying. If you’re into Italy, that is. Or just great black and white photography. “Gli Italiani” if only available in Italian. But it’s photography, so who cares. If you can’t find it, and want it, let me know and I’ll get you a copy.
Great photos – thank you.