Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Neo Neorealismo: a Call to Arms. (Nederlands Fotomuseum Rotterdam)

Enrica ViganĂ² has convincingly put together an exhibition of Italian photography from the thirties, forties and fifties that establishes a clear link between post war cinema – the famous Neo Realismo school - and the work of many talented photo reporters on the streets who successfully attempted to capture the essence of their troubled times and of a poor country at war and trying to rebuild and reinvent itself after the mayhem had passed. They are deeply moving documents, an impressive collection of images. As no single author is contributing more than a few pieces to the whole, the result is collective and choral, thus a more eloquent expression of a time and place than any individual oeuvre could ever hope to be. Each had his own style, all were quite good, much was shared in their vision.

Film posters and fragments add to the atmosphere, bringing us back in time, as well as showing how the dramatization of film sets stands in relation to the authentic photographs taken in the real world. Arguably movie makers used these photographs as a source of inspiration, the closer they could keep to them the better. To me photographs are best, and it all acts as a powerful reminder of the strength of the medium in its purest form. This is why I found the exhibition to be a call to arms for present work and not just a historical revue. Get out there and shoot the real. Time for a New Neorealismo.

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