Sciascia and Borges photographed by Scianna: when photography meets writing

Ferdinando Scianna: i dipinti si fanno, le fotografie si ricevono -  Maledetti Fotografi

From September 12 to December 8, the main floor of the Reggia di Colorno, in the province of Parma, will host the exhibition “Ferdinando Scianna. Two writers: Leonardo Sciascia and Jorge Louis Borges“, each narrated by a sequence of 22 portraits by Ferdinando Scianna. Portraits of his lifelong friend, Sciascia, given the close personal relationship that existed between the photographer and the Sicilian writer, and of a giant of twentieth-century literature, Borges, whose works have also fascinated the photographer.

An exhibition that is part of the exhibitions of the photographic festival ColornoPhotoLife 2021.

The meeting with the writers

Scianna’s meeting with Sciascia dates back to 1963. Ferdinando soon became a friend and collaborator of the Sicilian writer, “a second father” as Scianna himself defined him. Sciascia signed many of the introductory texts to Scianna’s photographic monographs: from “ Religious feasts in Sicily “, with which Ferdinando won the Nadar Prize in 1966, to “Les Siciliens” in 1977 and “ The villa of monsters “.

Credit: Ferdinando Scianna

One of the most lucid and intense portraits of Scianna as a photographer is due precisely to Sciascia:

“It is his photographing, almost a rapid, lightning-fast organization of reality, a catalyzing of objective reality into photographic reality: almost as if everything on which his eye rests and his lens rises obeys at that very moment, neither before nor after, by instantaneous magnetism, his feeling, his will and, ultimately, his style.” 

                                                                                                                                                  Leonardo Sciascia.

Scianna’s encounter with Borges, on the other hand, dates back to the 1980s, but equally memorable are his shots of the Argentine writer.

Credit: Ferdinando Scianna

The life and photography of Scianna

Scianna was born in Bagheria (Palermo) in 1943. He attends Literature and Philosophy, but soon the passion for photography takes over: he begins to photograph the religious festivities of his land, to which he will remain sentimentally tied forever. In 1966 he moved to Milan, and began working as a professional photographer; in 1967 he was hired by the weekly magazine L’Europeo, for which he made services all over the world, in 1968 he was in fact in Prague, also writing articles. In ’77 he moved to Paris, always as a correspondent of L’Europeo, also collaborates with Le Monde Diplomatique and La Quinzaine littéraire. Here he lives for ten years, knows and assiduously attends Henri Cartier-Bresson, who in 1982 introduces him in the Magnum Photos Agency.

“one of the photographers who, with his images, contributed to expanding the territories of the human, to moving forward the frontiers, giving back a dignity to people, animals and things that had rarely had it, that from the territories of the human had long been excluded.”

Sandro Parmiggiani.

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