1 / 7       Operation Mare Nostrum, the Italian Navy frigate FREMM Bergamini the first time it was tasked with a rescuing operation of a group of Syrian refugees on a fishing boat, 5th June 2014. © Massimo Sestini.

2 / 7       Lady Diana and Prince Charles on holiday with their sons, Capo di Coda Cavallo, Olbia 15th August 1991. © Massimo Sestini.

3 / 7       Riccardo Muti directing at La Scala, Milan 1997. © Massimo Sestini.

4 / 7       During the visit to the exhibition Ho visto cose by Massimo Sestini. © FPmag.

5 / 7       During the visit to the exhibition Ho visto cose by Massimo Sestini. © FPmag.

6 / 7       During the visit to the exhibition Ho visto cose by Massimo Sestini. © FPmag.

7 / 7       During the visit to the exhibition Ho visto cose by Massimo Sestini. © FPmag.

A Mosaic of our Time

To focus on the guidelines of a themed festival under the heading of ethics is always an extremely difficult operation. The obstacles to face are many starting from the scarcity of resources offered by a country incredibly backward in terms of culture of images such is Italy. To darken the complexity furthermore contributes the key element of Ethics applied in photography. For this, it is quite difficult in succeeding to identify the role of an exhibition like the one dedicated to Massimo Sestini in an event like that of the Festival of Ethical Photography.
Surely the name of the author is attractive – well known to insiders and not only –, just consecrated with a second place in the category General News/Singles at the World Prees Photo 2015. And to have an acclaimed name is essential for who organises an event articulated on several exhibition fronts. Then nothing can be said on the objective value of the versatile photographer, capable of sordid paparazzi photographs, as of the finest images able to recount with a deep journalistic spirit tragedies of our time. The curatorial choice has directed the exhibition – presented in the beautiful location of the former Chiesa dell'Angelo – in a tendentially pop direction that aims to rebuild a cross-section of approximately a quarter of a century of contemporary history. The repeated pattern is striking, which places images side by side aimed at the presentation of characters more or less known to the general public to the documentation of tragic events. As part of the mosaic realised on the based of composite tiles, surely this leads to the reflection on the complex contemporary events and situations that real life offers to each of us every day, even if we often do not realise it. What emerges is an overall framework whose deliberate fragmentation seems to thoroughly reflect the structure of contemporary television news, where the most useless gossip is joined seamlessly to the news of far more tragic events, often embellished with corpses, not visible, more or less excellent. Personally, I am perplexed at the sight of portraits such as those posed by Gianluca Rana amidst the tortellini in a luxurious spa or Francesco Mutti who emerges smiling, wearing swimming goggles, from amongst peeled plum tomatoes. The level of thought expressed by iconic constructions so rhetorical as to touch the pleonasm through the allusion to the industrial activities of the family does not deserve, in my view, comment. I am sure, however, that images such as this will contribute to form a collective line of thought next to ground zero, although of obvious... commercial effectiveness if, as happens, it is pursued for decades by most publishing.
This does not mean I want to criticise the author; on the contrary, he has done his job as always in an impeccable way, responding fully to his clients. Of a reflection, however, I am indebted in any case, regardless of this exhibition. I will try to explain. Arriving at the end of the visit I was particularly impressed by the synthetic insight of our time offered by the final sequence of three images. These depict, in order, Matteo Salvini in bed shirtless with only a green Padania tie on, the cemetery of boats used by migrants in Lampedusa filmed from a helicopter and the image of a boat packed with migrants always taken from above, off the Libyan coast and awarded at the WPP 2015. This is, in my opinion, a triptych, which is a powerful combination, perhaps daring, whose inclusion in the guidelines of the Festival can lead to reflections totally arbitrary and of the opposite sense. The concept itself of ethics in fact, is as much on the level of diachronic as on that of synchronic, changeable and variable for its own nature. It is in fact subjected to individual assessments dictated by the ideological context within which, the era with its prejudices or everyone of us in his intangible individuality, may decide to position the idea of ethics himself. To demonstrate once again the liability of the photographic image as a language and not saveable, in this case, not even from the anchorage offered by the captions. [ S. I. ]

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Ho visto cose
by Massimo Sestini
Ex Chiesa dell'Angelo | 10-11 / 17-18 / 24-25 October 2015
admission fee: 10,00 € (valid for the visit to all other exhibitions)


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Festival of Ethical Photography
Massimo Sestini

published on 2015-10-26 in NEWS / EXHIBITIONS

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