Mario Cattaneo Italian
Not on view
Between the end of World War II in 1945 and the economic boom of the 1960s, Italy underwent enormous political and social transformation. The defeat of fascism necessitated physical reconstruction of the war-torn country as well as a reunification of the national psyche. Photographers responded to the postwar condition by creating images that dealt directly with the realities of everyday life. The resulting photographs from this period have often been categorized as “neorealist” (after the contemporaneous movement in Italian cinema) or “humanist” in the vein of social documentary photography, such as that produced during the Great Depression in the United States. However, photography in postwar Italy encompassed a broader range of motivations and styles. For example, photojournalism thrived with the proliferation of illustrated weekly magazines, while amateur photographic organizations arose to promote photography as an art form. The centers of this activity were in the industrial cities of Northern Italy, where photographers documented urban street life. At the same time, Southern Italy became a primary subject for the camera. Although it was the site of the greatest postwar economic inequities, it also became a source of national unity, where local customs persisted amidst the country’s rapid modernization.