by Silvia Messeri

The history of the cinema
in the photographs of the Magnum

This exhibition is not just a documentary show on the cinema but also gives us an idea as to how a film is made. The actors are not just photographed on the set, during film takes, but also shown helpless in the hands of the makeup artists, in sterile studios during the phases of dubbing and next to technicians during lighting tests. A selection of over 200 photos, most of them in black and white, by the Magnum Photo, regarded as the most important photographic agency in the world, are now on show in a photographic exhibition organized by Contrasto and the F.lli Alinari to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the cinema.

One of the poster of the photo exhibition
Although the cinema was not one of the Magnum's main interests, the friendship between Robert Capa, founder of the agency, and John Huston, the film director, and ease in which the photographer was accepted in the exclusive circles of Hollywood, were to procure the Magnum's first contracts in the world of the cinema. These include the memorable ones taken when the agency was given the exclusive photographic coverage of the preparation for the "The misfits", the film John Huston directed in 1960. This was to be Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable's last film and the really beautiful photos taken by Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, Elliott Erwitt, Erich Hartmann and others, who worked for months on the set, have captured Gable's smile and Marilyn's weariness just before the end. However the Magnum photographers were also attracted to the cinema when they were away from the set; thus we find shots taken in the bustling streets of Tokyo with enormous posters of Ingrid Bergman in the background, others of the huge screens of the American drive-ins while others leave us in front of the tatty entrance to the Cinema Gloria at Santarém in Brazil. Fascinated by their journey and without any regrets for the sophisticated images of film stars and divinities. Magnum Cinema at the F.lli Alinari History of Photography Museum Via della Vigna Nuova 16/r until May 19th 1996. Hours: 10am - 7.30pm. Open until 11.30 pm on Friday and Saturday evenings. Closed on Wednesdays.See also: Magnum Photos history of a foto agency


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

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