Forms of Light
the "Bussola" group on show
at the Alinari Gallery

by Silvia Messeri

In search of beauty beyond the object itself, because "in art the subject doesn't count". This was the stimulus that led to the creation of the photographic group called LA BUSSOLA in 1947, whose manifesto appeared in May of the same year in the photo magazine, Ferrania.

The founding members of the group and those who signed the manifesto were Giuseppe Cavalli, Mario Finazzi, Ferruccio Leiss, Federico Vender and Luigi Veronesi. The Fratelli Alinari History of Photography Museum has dedicated an important exhibition, organised by Italo Zannier and Susanna Weber, and catalogue, to the Bussola group which was formed fifty years ago.

The catalogue

The exhibition (open until 16th November) presents 120 black and white images taken by Italian photographers, including those belonging to MISA, the photographic association founded in 1953, deriving directly from the Bussola, which represented an alternative to the latter's "formalism" and the tendency towards "neorealism".

There is an obvious contrast and difference between the white, dazzling images of Cavalli, Finazzi and Leiss, with the subject lost in a "Mediterranean light", and the photographs of Branzi and Camisa showing the serious faces of children or the evasive looks of Scanno's swarthy peasants, images which inaugurate Italian "civil photography". In fact, it is with the MISA photographers that social photography, photo-sociological surveys and Italian illustrated journalism all begin.

The images of this exhibition deserve to be seen and followed, as they unwind through an important, little known period of Italian post-war photography.

"Forme di luce",
Florence, Fratelli Alinari History of Photography Museum.
Open every day from 10am to 7.30pm, Fridays and Saturdays until 11.30pm.

See also

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