An unprecedented, pleasant yet dramatic Sicily will be exhibited in the rooms of Palazzo Albergati in Bologna, from June 9th to July 30th, 2023, through the photographs of Curtis Bill Pepper, a brilliant American journalist, best-selling author, and correspondent for Newsweek and other prestigious US newspapers in post-war Rome, but also an equally brilliant photographer, and “student” of his friend and mentor Henry Cartier Bresson.
The exhibition, Viaggio in Sicilia, 1959-1961 (Trip through Sicily, 1959-1961) is promoted by the Fondazione Terzo Pilastro - Internazionale and organized by Poema S.p.A.
The 50 photographs presented – from among the many, still in negatives or printed, taken on his travels between 1959 and 1961 – were carefully selected by Curtis Bill Pepper’s son, John R. Pepper, and by Angelo Bucarelli. These photographs from his projects were to be part of an “anti-tourist” guide, as he himself wrote: “… about a real Sicily, not the one of well-known tourist resorts, not that of Greek ruins, nor that of the paved streets of the main cities of the Island.” Unfortunately, he was never able to fulfill this desire.
In the photographs exhibited in Bologna, Pepper delves into the essence of characters, observes the theater of life, looks for its soul, its emotion and, as an expert journalist, he stitches together a well-structured story with each image: men who meet with each other, who observe each other, and walk together with a powerful gait; women who affirm their pride within a male environment; children who are part of that world that lives without shame in the streets and interact with adults in a more welcoming and non-individualistic society; the harshness and drama of miners, but also the joy of the languidness of the countryside, of a time where you could abandon yourself, made of simple things and a confidence towards the future, but also of the dramas that hide within a tradition that is also cruel and tied to ancient rites.
Curtis Bill Pepper certainly knew photographic techniques very well but chose not to abide by them. From his teacher, Cartier Bresson, he learned the importance of transgressing from the academy, in order to confirm the impression of the values of reality and what he intended to convey to those who “read” his photos.
None of the 50 photographs in the exhibition have a title. They were taken between 1959 and 1961 in various unrecognizable locations in Sicily. Pepper used a Nikon F with a 50 mm lens, and a lunasix 3 exposimeter. The negatives are Kodak tri-X. The photos were printed in various formats on Ilford Baryta paper processed with silver salts and are all framed with a 63x63 cm passpartout.
Artist: Curtis Bill Pepper
Title: Viaggio in Sicilia, 1959-1961
Curators: Angelo Bucarelli, John R. Pepper
Dates: June 10th to July 30th, 2023
Open: every day, 10 am to 8 pm
Location: Bologna, Palazzo Albergati - Via Zaragoza, 28
Tickets: € 5.00
Infoline: T. 051 030