Bruno Barbey: The Italians

From May 11 to July 2, 2023, a tribute will be paid to Bruno Barbey, late member of the Académie des beaux-arts, with an exhibition of photographs from his work on Italians in the 1960s, at the Pavillon Comtesse de Caen, in Paris.
In 1962, Bruno Barbey, aged 21, decided to travel through Italy with the idea of “capturing the spirit of a nation through images” and creating a portrait of its inhabitants. At the dawn of the 1960s, the traumas of war began to fade as the dream of a new Italy dawned. It is no longer entirely as portrayed by neo-realist filmmakers. At the start of the voyage to the “economic miracle”, Bruno Barbey is one of the first to register this historical transition. From North to South, from East to West, he photographs all social classes: from boys to aristocrats, including nuns, beggars, prostitutes. His lucid but always benevolent gaze captures a moving reality and sheds light on these Italians so near and far.
This photographic work is spotted by the publisher Robert Delpire who decides to publish a book in the “Essential Encyclopedia” collection, which already includes the work of Robert Frank The Americans (1958) and that of René Burri The Germans (1962 ). The book will ultimately not be made. It will be necessary to wait until 2002 for a first edition to bring together these images of an Italy that no longer exists.
The second edition is published in November 2022 at Delpire & Co Editions.

“Drawing up the portrait of Italians through images was, therefore, the ambition of this project.
To do this, I crisscrossed Italy from North to South… Nothing encyclopedic in these successful journeys but an emotional journey, like a country whose fantasy defies all methodology.” Bruno Barbey.
This exhibition presents sixty prints chosen personally by Bruno Barbey very shortly before he disappeared. The exhibition curator is assured by Caroline Thiénot-Barbey and Jean-Luc Monterosso.

A portrait of Bruno Barbey

About the Author

Bruno Barbey (1941-2020) joined the Magnum Photos agency in 1965. He has covered most of the world’s conflicts – May 1968, Biafra, Vietnam, the Middle East, Solidarnosc’s Poland, the Gulf War and Kurdistan – with an emphasis on auteur photography.
His work has been regularly published in international books and magazines, such as Time, Life, National Geographic, Stern, Paris Match, Géo or London Sunday Time. He has frequently returned to photograph Morocco, the country of his childhood, as evidenced by Fès, immobile immortelle (1996), a beautiful book accompanied by poems by Tahar Ben Jelloun.
His photographs have joined the collections of museums in the United States, Europe and Japan (International Center of Photography, New York; Maison Européenne de la Photographie; Centre Georges Pompidou; Musée des Beaux Arts de Paris; Musée Le Botanique, Brussels; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, among others).

Bruno Barbey: The Italians
from May 11 to July 2, 2023
Pavillon Comtesse de Caen – Paris

Hardcover: 184 pages
Publisher: DELPIRE (November 3, 2022)
Language: English
Size: 7.48 x 0.91 x 8.54 inches
Weight: 1.54 pounds
ISBN-13: 979-1095821526

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