by Sandro Pintus

New techniques in portraiture
The camera and the dark room of the future
at the Alinari exhibition on portraiture

On entering the "I and his double" photographic exhibition, in Florence until June 25th, one at once notices a strong, almost excessive contrast, that immediately switches the visitor from one century to another, from a bidimensional reality to a virtual reality and from a romantic attitude towards portraiture to a vision of the future.

Portrait with a studio camera in a drawing of the period
There is something else in the room the Alinari Brothers once used for their sittings, which has been set up again especially for the exhibition, and which saw the passage of members of the Savoy family, actresses from the theatre, and the bourgeoisie, all posing either out of vanity or for history. It is an object that supplants the strange and mysterious physical-chemical process with light-sensitive gelatin and chemical baths that could make the image appear almost by magic on the paper and filled those who saw it with wonder. It is "the Computer". In order to give us a glimpse of the future, "the Computer" is linked up to a digital camera which can take photographs of the visitors. To everyone's amazement, these images can then be elaborated, touched up, coloured and changed in real time. This is the latest in a series of processors that no longer need film, dark room, or a physical-chemical process to carry out a classic portrait; however they do need a whole lot of bits per inch. This is the fruit of modern technology and represents the obligatory changeover that will take the portrait towards the Third Millennium. It has not lost its magic. See also: A century of photographic portraiture

FAN-Florence ART News
a cura di
Silvia Messeri & Sandro Pintus

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