• Gianni Berengo Gardin


Hopeless glee

The work was realized in some Roma camps in Florence in 1993. The idea was to document their daily life in all its aspects: both negative, such as the difficult environmental and health conditions, and positive, such as the traditions, the celebrations, the family occasions, the moments of leisure.

Italian mental hospitals

“Morire di classe. La condizione manicomiale fotografata da Carla Cerati e Gianni Berengo Gardin", edited by Franca Ongaro Basaglia and Franco Basaglia, Einaudi 1969, was among the first to denounce the inhuman conditions in which inmates in Italian asylums were held. Made with great difficulty, this work contributed to the debate that led in 1978 to the approval of law 180, the closure of asylums and the restoration of personal dignity to psychiatric patients.

Large cruise ships in Venice

Originating from the disconcert in front of the "visual pollution" produced by the disproportion between the dimensions of the city and those of these mastodons of the sea, the work focuses on the damage caused by unregulated mass tourism to the environment and to the identity of Venice, touching the uncovered nerve of the dichotomy between economic exploitation and the fragile state of the city. The controversy triggered by the censorship by the mayor Luigi Brugnaro has given a wide international resonance to the images.


He was born at Santa Margherita Ligure in 1930 and started to take photographs in 1954. After living in Rome, Venice, Lugano and Paris, in 1965 he settled in Milan, where he embarked on his professional career, devoting himself to reportage, social inquiry, the documentation of architecture and description of the environment.
He has contributed to the principal illustrated periodicals in Italy and abroad, but has devoted himself primarily to the production of books, publishing over 260 volumes of photographs. His first photos were published in 1954 in II Mondo, edited by Mario Pannunzio, to which he continued to contribute until 1965, publishing hundreds of photographs. From 1966 to 1983 he worked with the Touring Club Italiano, producing a long series of volumes on Italy and the countries of Europe, as well as with the Istituto Geografico De Agostini of Novara. He has worked regularly with industry (Olivetti, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, IBM, Italsider, etc.), producing features and books on companies. In 1979 he began to collaborate with Renzo Piano, documenting the stages in the realization of his architectural projects.
He has held around 360 solo exhibitions in Italy and abroad, he has also shown at Photokina in Cologne, the Montreal Expo in 1967 and Milan in 2015, and the Venice Biennale; he took part in the exhibition The Italian Metamorphosis, 1943-1968 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1994.
His pictures can be found in the collections of many museums and cultural foundations, including the Istituto Centrale per la Grafica in Rome, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Bibliotheque Nationale and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, the Musée de l‘Elysée in Lausanne and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid.
In 1972 the magazine Modern Photography included him in its list of 32 of the ”World‘s Top Photographers.“ In 1975 Cecil Beaton mentioned him in his book The Magic Image. The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day.
In 1975 Bill Brandt selected him for the exhibition “Twentieth Century Landscape Photographs” at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He was the only photographer cited by E.H. Gombrich in his book The Image and the Eye (Oxford 1982). In Storia della Fotografia Italiana (Rome-Bari 1987), Italo Zannier described him as ”the most eminent photographer of the postwar period.“ He was one of the 80 photographers chosen by Cartier-Bresson in 2003 for the exhibition ”Les choix d‘Henri Cartier-Bresson”. In 2015 he appeared in Hans-Michael Koetzle’s volume “Eyes Wide Open! 100 Years of Leica Photography”.

Milan, Italy

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Venise des Saisons, Lousanne, La Guilde du Livre, 1965
Morire di Classe (with Carla Cerati, curated by Franco Basaglia), Turin, Einaudi, 1969
L’occhio come mestiere, Milan, Il Diaframma, 1970
Un paese vent’anni dopo (with Cesare Zavattini), Turin, Einaudi 1976
Dentro le case (with Luciano D’Alessandro), Milan, Electa 1977
India dei villaggi, Veniano, FotoSelex, 1980
Il Mondo, Milan, Mazzotta, 1985
Gianni Berengo Gardin. Fotografie 1953-1990, Udine, Art&, 1988
Lo studio di Giorgio Morandi, Milan, Charta, 1993
La disperata allegria. Vivere da zingari a Firenze, Florence, Centro Di, 1994
Copyright Gianni Berengo Gardin, Rome, Peliti, 2001
Gianni Berengo Gardin, Rome, Contrasto, 2005
Storie di un fotografo, Venice, Marsilio, 2013
Venezia e le Grandi Navi, Rome, Contrasto, 2015
Vera Fotografia. Reportage, immagini, incontri, Rome, Contrasto, 2016


2017. Leica Hall of Fame Award, Rome
2015. Honorary Architect, Consiglio Nazionale degli Architetti, Pianificatori, Paesaggisti e Conservatori, Rome
2015. Premio Mario Novaro – La Riviera Ligure, Genoa
2014. Premio Marco Bastianelli, Rome
2012. Ambrogino d’Oro, City Council of Milan
2009. Laurea Honoris Causa in History and Critique of Art, Università degli Studi, Milan
2008. Lucie Award, New York
2007. Premio Werner Bishof, Avellino
2005. Premio Città di Trieste per il Reportage, Trieste
1998. Premio Oscar Goldoni, Modena
1995. Leica Oskard Barnack Award, Arles
1990. Premio Brassaï, Paris
1988. Maestro della Fotografia Italiana FIAF
1981. Premio Scanno, Scanno
1957. Artista FIAF Internazionale

Exhibitions & Screenings

2020. Gianni Berengo Gardin e la Olivetti, Camera – Centro Italiano per la Fotografia, Turin, Italy
2019. Roma, Casale di Santa Maria Nova, Rome, Italy
2018. Poetics of reality, Multimidia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia
2018. Dall’archivio al mondo. L’atelier di Gianni Berengo Gardin, Chiostri di San Pietro, Fotografia Europea, Reggio Emilia, Italy
2016. Vera Fotografi. Reportage, immagini, incontri, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy
2015. Venezia e le Grandi Navi, Negozio Olivetti FAI, Venice, Italy
2015. Paesaggi di riso, Expo2015, Milan, Italy
2013. Storie di un Fotografo, Palazzo Reale, Milan; Casa dei Tre Oci Venice; Scavi Scaligeri, Verona, Italy; Palazzo Ducale, Genoa
2013. Storie di un Fotografo, Palazzo Reale, Milan; Casa dei Tre Oci Venice; Scavi Scaligeri, Verona, Italy; Palazzo Ducale, Genoa
2001. Gianni Berengo Gardin. Copyright, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy
1999. Photographs 1953-1998, Leica Gallery, New York, USA
1997. Gianni Berengo Gardin, photographe humaniste, Maison Robert Doisneau, Paris, France
1991. Gianni Berengo Gardin, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
1990. Photographie 1953-1990, Galerie Photo Fnac Forum, Mois de la Photo, Paris, France