Photography and Contemporary Art



fotografia contemporanea

In several contemporary photographs I am able to detect different expressive values of twentieth-century contemporary art because they have the same visual structure as the main artistic movements. From Impressionism onwards, the element of fusion with the greatest determination is undoubtedly the essence of conceptualism that was defined by birth in the sixties and seventies but concretely emerged in so much pre-conceptual and post-conceptual artistic production. The conceptual essence of photographic expressionism is completed when the image, through the compositional structure, is able to convey sensations and emotions. Perhaps it is necessary to remember that conceptual art considerably resizes form and technique to give space to the concept that can be represented with any expressive language, including photography which is certainly contemporary with this function as well. Lately the interest of art criticism and also of the markets has grown dramatically so much so that the artistic director at the Victoria / Albert Musem in London and at the County Museum in Los Angeles, Dr. Charlotte Cotton has found the need to publish an essay called “Photography as contemporary art” which soon became an indispensable point of reference for the entire cultural – contemporary sector. I agree with the didactic strategy included in the book which appropriately signals the appreciation of the live photographic work through visits to the various exhibition spaces where the visual contemplation of the observer is spontaneous but above all free from any conditioning that any accompanying paper illustration could transmit gives a critical indication.



We now assume that photography occupies a prestigious position in the visual language of contemporary art. And it is superfluous to affirm the concept that the photographic image does not necessarily have to be faithful to reality, but while maintaining a conceptual essence, it must be interpreted. Contemporary photography succeeding in identifying its conceptual essence perfectly highlights its contemporary identity, however it is clear that the photographic conceptual can never be completely dematerialized because the link with reality even if interpreted embryonic remains. Given that the possibilities offered by digital technology allow different entities of manipulation but excessive alteration makes conceptual understanding fragile because excess shatters or cancels any link with reality. Consequently, when the technical manipulation of the camera is more limited, the greater the link between concept and reality. Then we must pay the utmost attention to clearly define the boundary between photography and digital art. The conceptual aspect contributes to constantly feed the expressive research of the artist who, abandoning pre-established schemes through continuous experimentation, concretizes a growing photographic expressionism that has its start from the point of view of the artist – photographer. The result is enclosed in a contemporary realization free from academic schemes, without improvisations and anchored to a design path with the aim of arousing interest and emotions through different themes; historical – social – cultural – environmental – youth – political – immigration – energy – populist – pro-European – religious – food .


Assisted by an impartial analysis of the major expressive languages of the first artistic avant-gardes, it will be possible to verify the links of contemporary photography with the artistic currents of the first decade of the twentieth century which undoubtedly remain at the basis of what will subsequently be the modern period and then complete itself. with the current contemporary cultural era. It should be specified that the highlighting of the links between photography and artistic currents will be carried out through the creation of themes belonging to the artistic – cultural movement taken into consideration. Concluding with further clarity, I concretize the example of what I have described with my status – artistic – contemporary; I am not and I do not want to be a photographer, but I am an artist who creates artistic projects – of painting, sculpture, perfomaces, installations, digital art and photography, and I do not share the absurd rivalry that I often read between photography and painting , as well as condemn the exclusion of photography in the vein of the figurative arts as I very often continue to point out.



fotografia contemporanea

The anti-pictorial nature and the happy relationship between technology and art of Duchamp’s expressive philosophy make the link between photography and Dadaism almost automatic. Duchamp’s thesis is extended to all Dadaists and in particular by Picabia. Dadaist photography appears to be strongly consolidated through numerous Dadaist works, it is worth remembering when Picabia even depicted a camera. The link between Photography and Dadaism officially materializes with the great invention of the ready mades personally developed by Duchamp in the early decades of the twentieth century. Briefly, it is pleasant to summarize the details of the ready mades in the following points; overcoming manual skills – overcoming reality with free manipulation – the conceptual sense of the work that must be managed by the artist’s intuition. Duchamp’s strong bond with photography has strengthened the inclusion of the expressive language of photography in the adventure of the avant-garde arts which remain the basis for the continuation before modernity and subsequently for contemporaneity. Furthermore, the interest of photographic Dadaism for the technological evolution of the image is mainly historical with the determination of the photomontage which without a shadow of a doubt is to be considered the first manipulation of an image.
Fotodinamismo 01


 A quick analysis of the historical path of photography shows that the alterations of the images have always involved artists, already in the second half of the nineteenth century there are numerous experiments that gradually manage to get to use chemical materials that offer the possibility of reproducing the subject at the same time the at infinity. The great success of photographic portraiture had a notable appreciation in the visual arts market which, with excessive optimism, hinted at a new figurative classicism. Subsequently, naturalistic photography with clear pre-impressionist attitudes was legitimized. But the very first manipulation of the photographic image with simple interventions took place already with the Impressionists; swing the tripod slightly before shooting, or put oily substances in front of the lens. In the early decades of the twentieth century, a visual-dynamic research took shape with Anton Giulio Bragaglia’s Futurist Photodynamics. From America Alfred Stieglitz, head of the Photo-Secession group, with the help of small portable devices, tried with violent and instantaneous shots, to immortalize cubist visions present in reality. Subsequently, the Dadaists began to manipulate the image through the dark room, giving ample space to photomontage and collage, developing the poetics of chance. Digital manipulations then belong to today’s everyday life. Among the various researches mentioned above, Photodynamics manages to convey greater interest. In the foreground the movement of the moving subject is inserted, in particular it is crucial to immortalize the multiplication of the silhouette in different sequences. Creating a sort of collage of many frames in a single image makes an iconographic dynamism feasible. But Bragaglia’s photographic research did not have a particular consensus, perhaps because the cinematography made better the concept of movement that was the essence of Futurism, but also because the futurists held photography in little or no account (Exibart / I futuristi: contro la photography? Claudio Marra 10/04/09). However, the publication of the book written by Bragaglia, entitled precisely “Futurist Photodynamics” triggered a definitive renunciation of Anton Giulio’s theory within the Futurist movement. The painter Boccioni wrote to Sporvieri, director of the Roman gallery in via del Tritone engaged in the preparation of a futurist exhibition: “Please, I am writing this on behalf of my futurist friends, exclude any contact with the photodynamics of Bragaglia …”. Personally I consider Bragaglia’s Photodynamics of extreme contemporaneity for a new vision of reality that escapes the perception of our eye. It is a different way of focusing the photographic lens on reality. The contribution that the expressive evolution of photographic production received was undoubtedly remarkable. For several years now I have considered the enthusiasm of Bragaglia’s research a clear solicitation to deepen the experimentation of dynamism in the photographic product. The multiple representation of the trajectory of the movement manages to develop an alternation of planes that intersect with further surfaces at the same time establish a dynamic force and a remarkable chromatic value.


LA STORYTTELLING by Anton Giulio Bragaglia

Exhibition Project


 Informal Photography

creative laboratory of contemporary art with articles-exhibitions-including modern-contemporary-photography

 The fourth workshop of the photographic project called “contemporary realism” has become an informal-material type. The chromatic residues of old metropolitan graffiti have been photographed which have aged with expressive-visual interventions of different themes, bleached and partly erased with faded, dull, partly discolored colors, to then be covered by other graffiti that wear time has faded again, but with the presence of an informal-material iconography. The collected photographic product highlights the cancellation of any pre-established shape or shape and liberalization. All this manages to transport the visual memory to the masterpieces of informal painting. In fact, technically they are chromatic interventions with signs that do not delineate a border with the remaining chromatic residue, helping to enhance images free to wander in a metropolitan context. The entire project is published on my art studio website, at ;

Pasquale Petrucci