Il Profilo delle Nuvole
Luigi Ghirri (1943-1992) was an extraordinary photographer as well as a prolific writer and curator. He is considered to be the most important Italian photographer of the 20th century. Ghirri’s work covers a wide range of subjects mostly photographed in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. His photos are presented in a deadpan manner that is occasionally humorous and often rooted in art history. Ghirri’s landscapes are a contemporary interpretation of Metaphysical painting in their mysteriousness and dreamlike atmospheres. They explore photographic traditions and highlight a fascination with everyday life.
Luigi Ghirri studied as a surveyor and as a graphic designer. He began taking photographs professionally at the age of 30. Shortly after, his work began attracting international attention. Time-Life magazine’s 1975 annual Photography Year Edition chose him as “Discovery of the Year”. In 1977, Ghirri founded a publishing house, Punto e Virgola, with his wife Paola Borgonzoni Ghirri. The establishment was able to support the growth of Italian photographic culture, publish important artist monographs and educate an audience that had little knowledge of photographic practice as an art form. In 1979 he published the first photobook of his own images, Kodachrome.
During the 1980s Ghirri began to photograph Italian landscapes and was singled out as one of the most significant Italian authors in the history of 20th century photography. His conceptual photographs, coupled with a remarkable literary output, led him to produce several noteworthy photographic projects. In 1984 Ghirri curated Viaggio in Italia (Italian Voyage) which included the work of Olivo Barbieri, Gabriele Basicilico and Mimmo Jodice among other leading Italian photographers. The exploratory exhibition offered reflections and ideas about the country and was a milestone in the history of Italian contemporary photography. In 1989, he published Il Profilo delle Nuvole (Cloud Profiles) which included exclusively Ghirri’s captivating images and represents his highest achievement. Ghirri exhibited throughout Italy during his relatively brief life.