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A scissorred truth
Hand-made photo manipulations from the archive of L’Espresso magazine

curated by Tiziana Faraoni

Can photography lie in an newsmagazine? Can it be presented in such a way to tell one single, undeniable truth?

Today photomanipulation is often connected to the work of the photographer himself and it is hard to believe that it could be part of the work of a newsmagazine. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, however, it was very common for editorial staff to manipulate pictures. Altering reality was the norm, but generally it did not depend on political and journalistic reasons. As the former art director of L’Espresso Franco Originario explains, “Reality was manipulated only to meet layout and graphics needs”.

Basically, they were following the “non-rules” of photography itself. Images had to be animated, and the gesture of every single character was crucial to the layout. Hands or backdrops were part of this movement and if a picture lacked these requisites, the effect had to be created by merging or altering pictures.

These strict graphics rules were meant to improve the magazine’s quality and its success: a subject’s profile was always supposed to face inwards, and often flipping a photograph could mean eliminating a detail such as a pocket of a jacket, which would have invalidated the new truth.

Moreover, there was no access to the huge amount of photographic material we currently have. Digital photography was still far away, and scissors were the only tool available.

Today such approach would be seen as a “slaying” of photography. However, we have to bear in mind that graphic design and photography have always had a very strong connection since the time of pictorialism, in the illustrated propaganda of the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century and, above all, in the popular American magazines of the ‘30s and ‘40s that led to the boom of photojournalism.


Opening time
From Tuesday to Sunday: 10.00/13.00 -15.00/19.00
Closed Monday

Extraordinary Opening Friday13, free entry
UWF Reduced Ticket € 4.00


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