Lo stivale di Garibaldi – Photo and Risorgimento

Italy is celebrating her 150th birthday. On the occasion Marco Pizzo, director of Museo centrale del Risorgimento in Rome, publishes a volume collecting photographs of the event. Taking this book and photos of Risorgimento as a starting point Michele Smargiassi, in his always interesting blog, reflects on italian photographic history.

If « glory and war » do not appear in this photos, he writes, it is not for technical reasons but for the fact that italian photographers were studio photographers. So they represented facts and events as they would have done with studio portraits.

It reminds me of the plurality of factors we have to consider if we want to use photos as documents for history. Contextualization is crucial for historians, obviously. And it extends when we work with media, as photos. Technical development, photographic culture of producers and users, visual habits,  actual circulation of the images are only some of the elements we have to contemplate.

This is just one of the reasons why I think that it would be fundamental to start a serious work on small photographers. The ones who do not have a name in photography handbooks.

Settimana della cultura

Since 1998 (if I am not mistaken), the italian Ministero per i beni culturali, organizes the « Settimana della cultura« . For a week museums, archeological sites, monuments give free admittance to visitors.

During these days Italy seems culturally alive. Almost. Some events are really good, some quite embarassing but it is a very good opportunity for archives to be in the spotlight, for once.

Among the events, some are related to photographic projects, as well. The Soprintendenza archivistica di Brescia, for instance, organizes L’archivio di vetro. An exhibition on the restoration of glass negatives in their collection.

An interesting chance to see what goes on in archives behind the scenes. And to reflect on what I call « the body » of photographs. Or even better, the neglected body of photographs.

Let me take you to the movie

We are not talking about photographs today, but we are not so far away… movies!

L’Archivio audiovisivo del movimento operaio is giving particular visibility to women directors lately. After Cecilia Mangini, now is the turn of Rosalia Polizzi.

Anyway, if you are interested in images and history, it’s always a good idea to check what’s going on at Aamod.

Hay más en ti. Imágenes de la mujer…

donne immagini medio evo

An exhibition on the representation of women in the Middle Ages, in the Museo de Bellas Artes in Bilbao.

The iconographic analysis is the starting point to reflect on womens’ status in the medieval society.

I always find very stimulating to look at what scholars working with images do in different branches. It really helps to open your mind, to suggest new paths, to bring some fresh air…

Phototriennale in Hamburg

It’s opening today, in Hamburg, the 5th edition of the Triennal of Photography. This year’s topic is « Crossing boundaries. Photo – Film -Photo ».

In the program, exhibitions and many events. I am particularly interested in two lectures: the one by Thorsten Scheid, that will explain « the promise of reality » that photos are supposed to bring to movies, and the one by Karin Maak. She will talk about « Women and film ». She links the word « photo » and « reality », too, as the subtitle of her talk is: « Photography as a passage to reality« .

So, is photo more real than any other medium? Or it just « promises » to be? But what I ask myself is: are we really still wondering about it?

Is anyone going there? What about sharing your experience with us?

International Polaroid collection

WestLicht Museum, in Wien, with the financial help of Impossible, bought the International polaroid collection.

The collection includes photos from Ansel Adams, Sally Mann, Robert Mapplethorpe and many other « big » names.

The British journal of Photography tells more, if you are interested.

Dj Vu

Does anyone out there use DjVu? It is supposed to be « a web-centric format and software platform for distributing documents and images ». It could be used to replace tiff, jpeg and gif, giving a « better » compression.

It also has an open source version.

I would mainly like to understand what a « better » compression is. Files are smaller, ok, but is their quality high enough? Or we loose too much information?

Did anyone try it?