Painters of Modern Life

It was the art historian Heinrich Wölfflin, a contemporary of Léger, who in his 1915 publication Kunstgeschichtliche Grundbegriffe (Principles of Art History) released the quality of painterliness from the artistic genre of painting, defining it instead as a general stylistic category. Since then it has been clear that painterly thinking is not carried out exclusively in oil on canvas.

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Annelie Lütgens

Look At That Idiot!

One day last year I was standing on top of my scaffolding when a couple went by and I overheard them saying, “Look at that idiot, he thinks he’s Massimo Vitali!''.

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Despina Pavlaki

Pure Chance?

Joerg Colberg: "So pure chance – getting one of your cameras stolen and then being left with another one – does play a role for a photographer, maybe even more often than many people realize, doesn’t it?"

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Joerg Colberg

What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Photography?

This past Sunday I was part of a panel to discuss the general state of photography in Italy, organized by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Affairs (MIBACT). A part of the PhotoLux Festival in Lucca, the event was the 19th and final MIBACT meeting to evaluate this supposed state. [...]
For me the biggest problem is that there is no understanding of where we started, and so we cannot find a common denominator between a photojournalist and a food photographer, a “fine art” (I hate that term) photographer and medical documentary photography. There is no in-depth knowledge, and so everything exists in a messy melting pot. In order to overcome these divisions in photography, we must first accept that these divisions do indeed exist.

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Massimo Vitali

Visible Social Orders

If it were not for the occasional visibility of a camera or a car (Vitali must have worked to exclude such items from his photographic field), we could be watching them in the second millennium BC—even in deeper prehistory or at the dawn of human time (gathering by the pools at Olduvai, perhaps). And if it were not for our familiarity—our empathetic identification—with the social biped Homo sapiens, we could be observing terns, seals, gazelles, or wolves.

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Whitney Davis

Plateau of Humankind

The plateau has therefore always been a feature that permits an overall view by means of a general view, of observation as theory and supervision. Whoever wishes to lead, to make revelations or inspire has to prove himself or herself a visionary. But he cannot just stubbornly stare ahead; he has to comprehend the panorama of the world in its unity and a whole.

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Bazon Brock

Step Back

I was interviewed by Tobia Bezzola, Director of MASI in Lugano at Photo London in 2016. Previously, Bezzola had long and distinguished career as a curator of art of the past and present, including photography at the Kunsthaus in Zurich and the Folkwang Museum, Essen.
In this excerpt, we talked about my distance from photojournalism and my artistic process.

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Massimo Vitali & Tobia Bezzola

Only Humans

So the wonder is not "who are they? where are they?" but the wonder about the superseding vision that they are the figuration of. It is my presumption to see in that vision a disconnection among crowds of people, even an expansive loneliness of each person in the crowd; but, I must emphasize, his works are in no way comments about society.

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David Plante

A Day All Together

"I’m an educator focusing on social projects. I work with immigrants requesting political asylum and we came with them to enjoy a day together."
– Alessio Trillini

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Alessandro Baratti


Analog? Digital? For a while now, I’ve been wondering about their differences. Last week I was talking about it with my friend Domingo Milella. He told me that it is not only a matter of image quality, texture, and detail, rather it is also about the act of taking a picture, it is about the way you see the world, the framing of your sight, the performance of the act of photographing.

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Massimo Vitali