Five Pictures From Vincent Peters “Timeless Time” At Palazzo Reale In Milan

Emma Watson by Vincent Peters, London, 2012

As I have already mentioned in the article where I reviewed some Milan Fashion Week looks, one of the few moments free from work that I had in February was the afternoon that I visited the retrospective of German photographer Vincent Peters at Palazzo Reale. I was very excited to be able to see his work live, partly because in the preceding weeks I had read the enthusiastic opinions of friends and acquaintances who had already visited the retrospective. Vincent Peters is known for his fondness of black and white, which I personally love very much, in fact I often apply black and white to my own photos. He was perhaps one of the first to recognize how inspiration from the outside world influences the photographs he takes; he once said, “You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring into the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”

His images always tell a story, which can be felt even from a single shot. Alessia Glaviano, the curator of the Timeless Time retrospective, said, “Each element that converges and condenses in each of his single shots forms a layer that never loses its own identity and distinction. And in the coming together of these singular layers, here is where each of Peters’ images comes to tell a story. [Vincent Peters] is one of the great masters of telling a story even through a single, individual image.”

A photographic style reminiscent of Italian neorealism is evident in the portraits Peters has taken of film personalities such as Emma Watson, Scarlett Johansson, Matthew McConaughey and others.

Rarely I have seen portraits that trigger a whole range of emotions in me; undoubtedly his photos are incredibly glamorous also because of the nature of the people photographed. I chose this series of images of Emma Watson as the opening of the article because Vincent Peters has photographed her several times over the years; all of those shots are wonderful and bring out the personality of Emma, an actress and activist who I also included in my article on inspiring women for International Women’s Day. Vincent Peters gives each of his subjects a depth that manages to reveal their inner selves. The dreamlike atmosphere of the images makes the subjects almost take on the characteristics of a deity, and we can perceive not only their charm and beauty but also a kind of fragility that shines through. The unforgettable elegance of every single picture can also be seen in his homage to Italy through the photos of the Ferrari Trento (sponsor of the event together with Boglioli Milano), symbol of Trentodoc bubbles for 120 years and part of the series of shots that close the retrospective.

A retrospective that I have truly enjoyed and of which I have gathered the five photos that I loved the most; they render better in person because of the size of the prints and it was difficult to capture them on camera because the halls were very crowded, but I hope you will appreciate the photos I have chosen, which constitute only a small part of Vincent Peters’ magic universe:

1) Adriana Lima, Monaco, 2017:

2) Scarlett Johansson, New York, 2017:


Max Ernst Retrospective At Palazzo Reale In Milan

My mother at the Max Ernst retrospective

I had not planned very far in advance to see Max Ernst’s exhibition at Palazzo Reale; in January, before the sales campaign began, I had a morning off from work and was curious to visit this retrospective.

During the course of my visit, I was able to admire the complex works of the German artist, whose body of work nevertheless needs an in-depth look at the historical and philosophical context in which he lived (I heard a professor who was visiting the exhibition make this very observation), as he is still little known by the general public and may need to be studied in relation to other disciplines as well.

The retrospective traces the entire career of Max Ernst, who is also remembered as one of the greatest intellectuals of the 20th century. He was one of the most cited and controversial artists of his time and his masterpieces are scattered in numerous museums and private collections around the world, mainly in Europe and the United States. The one at Palazzo Reale is the first retrospective about Max Ernst ever staged in Italy; many of the works at the museum have not been viewable for numerous decades, including a series of books and documents collected by the artist that are on display for the very first time.

Both his life and his artistic body of work represent a unique journey through the 20th century, one of the most relevant centuries in history in terms of facts and currents of thought. A century which to this day appears both near and far, but whose major events still influence our lives and our times. The exhibition opens with one of Max Ernst’s most important works, Oedipus Rex (1922), which turned a century old just last year and evidences how fascinated the artist was with both Greek myth and Freudian psychoanalysis.

Oedipus Rex, 1922
Justitia / Butcher’s Shop, 1919

“Richard Avedon: Relationships” At Palazzo Reale in Milan

Richard Avedon – Vogue covers

In December I had the opportunity to visit a retrospective titled “Richard Avedon: Relationships” at the Palazzo Reale in Milan. It was an amazing experience for me because I love photography and fashion very much, so it was a great opportunity to explore the many aspects of this legendary photographer’s work.

Avedon’s images are divided into several rooms and the portraits are grouped by theme; each gallery reveals a group of related images that provide visual pleasure and appreciation for his immense body of work.

The photographer famously said: “My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph.” In the course of his career, he created a series of iconic images in fashion and portraiture. Between 1989 and 2004, Avedon placed a magnificent group of photographs at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, meant to represent five decades of his work.

The “Richard Avedon: Relationships” exhibition includes a selection of fashion photographs and portraits that allow the audience to explore his approach to photographing people. It explores two ideas: the first is how multiple photographs of the same subject reveal aspects of Avedon’s process, his relationship with the people he photographed and certain sides of their personality as well. The second is that fashion images and portraits shift when he includes multiple people because in this case Avedon’s goal was to convey relationships among the subjects. Palazzo Reale had already hosted an exhibition dedicated to Avedon titled “Evidence 1944-1994” that chronicled 50 years of the artist’s work.

This new retrospective offers a chance to see the illustrious career of one of the best American photographers of the 20th century, focusing on his relationships with the people he has photographed over the decades.

Sophia Loren – New York, 1970

Domenico Piraina, director of Palazzo Reale, stated: “Avedon was an innovator in many aspects. He eliminated everything that was superfluous from the scene, to underscore the sole presence of the person being portrayed. […] Models were no longer statues dressed in beautiful clothes, they were real people. Characterful people, in many cases. […] The precociousness of his huge talent made him a famous and much sought-after photographer. Indeed, he was the inspiration for the character of Dick Avery in the famous 1957 film Funny Face, featuring Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn. […] One cannot imagine the history of photography without Richard Avedon.”


Throwback Thursday: ’80s Nostalgia At WOW Spazio Fumetto (Comic Art Museum) In Milan

In June 2017 I got to attend a very original exhibition held at WOW Spazio Fumetto (Comic Art Museum) with my friend Rebecca in Milan. It was called “’80s Nostalgia” and focused on the Eighties and their relevance in pop culture.

The ’80s were an incredible decade. We are talking about the years of video-games and Japanese cartoons, the triumph of commercial television, of hit parades and the fantasy movie genre. Nowadays we are living in an era which puts a lot of emphasis on the idealization of the past, so even teenagers and young people are interested in discovering what went on during those days.

This exhibition was not merely an historical, sociological and cultural in-depth study about one of the most controversial decades of the 20th century, but also an entertaining journey meant to rediscover symbols, passions and icons that many people grew up with.

Authentic memorabilia courtesy of private collections and the Fondazione Franco Fossati was included in the exhibition, which was divided in years (1980-1989) and gave an insight on the most relevant aspects of this time. We got to see some iconic pieces like the Rubik’s Cube (which sold 100 million pieces in 1982 only) and the Sony walkman (with its own Bic used to rewind the tape without consuming the batteries); some big panels were documenting pop culture facts and news stories, including music and cinema. We had the possibility to see ’80s toys, video-games, newspaper pages, discs, original movie posters, magazines, comics tables, robots, board games and so on.

My friend Rebecca with Charlie Brown from the Peanuts
L’Ape Maia (Maya the Bee), a popular Japanese cartoon in the 80s

In 1980 Ronald Reagan became President of the United States and the sequel to Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, came out. The Buggles’ Video Killed The Radio Star played on the radio, along with AC/DC’s Back in Black album. In Italy there were various music hits that became popular, like Gianni Togni’s Luna and Heather Parisi’s Disco Bambina. Pac-Man was the year’s most played video-game.