Chiara Samugheo exhibition at Franz Kraler, Cortina.
Franz Kraler pays homage to one of the great interpreters of the Italian film industry of the 50s and 60s.
From 23 March to 10 April.
Opening 23 March 2012, 6.30 pm.
Franz Kraler – Multibrand Designer Store – 107 Corso Italia, Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Tel. +39 0436/3197
By emphasising the essential nature of line, emphatic chromatic contrasts and sumptuous hairstyles, photography revived the art of the studio portrait in striking fashion, and in doing so laid the template for the fashion photography and cinematography of the 1980s.
Born in Bari in 1935, she was christened Chiara Paparella. Her intention, at a young age, was to become a composer. In 1953, against the wishes of her parents who envisioned for her a career as a schoolteacher, Chiara Samugheo set off for Milan where she became a fixture of the intellectual scene of Enzo Biagi, Alberto Moravia, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Giorgio Strehler, the last of whom suggested that she go into acting. It is in these years that she met Pasquale Prunas, founder of the cultural magazine Sud, who would become her life companion. It was Prunas who suggested she change her surname. He also asked her to contribute a new publication, a photo-heavy current affairs title not unlike Paris Match: Le Ore.
Her initial efforts were in the field of crime reporting, but after meeting Federico Patellani, one of the era’s leading photographers, she began working for him. Her early work was largely in the form of reportage, with a strong current of social critique, documenting the “tarantolata” of Puglia (the hysterical dances that were induced to cure spider bites), the slums and shanties of Napoli, gypsies in prison. In the years that followed her work began to appear in major international titles, and on the cover of leading magazines. She published various books and, in the 1950s, began to photograph the leading ladies of international cinema (Monica Vitti, Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale and Gina Lollobrigida to name but a few). The age of la dolce vita brought to the fore a new type of photo-journalism, and a new type of magazine, in which the star system became synonymous with progress. Magazine covers and articles were compelled to document the diva, the cinematographic woman, as an object of desire. The photographs of Chiara Samugheo are very much a product of this time, but they manage to restore to the bodies-cum-objects of these divas a genuine femininity and personality, something profoundly intimate that stands in opposition to the ephemeral world built around them. Thus they fed into the mythology of Italian cinema. With over 165,000 celebrity images to her name, Samugheo herself became something of a star, her services in demand in Hollywood, in Spain, Russia and Japan. She was the guest of the Shah of Persia, and of Hollywood producer Joe Pasternak. Having lived for years in Rome, she moved to Nice where she still has a studio in the Rue Droite, the street of artists. She is an honorary French citizen, and was awarded the title of Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana on 2 June 2003.