Exhibition investigates for the first time the great revolution in photography made possible by Leica cameras

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Exhibition investigates for the first time the great revolution in photography made possible by Leica cameras
Installation view.

ROME.- Finally in Rome, in its sole Italian stop-over, the exhibition I Grandi Maestri. 100 Anni di fotografia Leica is taking place at the Complesso del Vittoriano - Ala Brasini until February 18th 2018.

I Grandi Maestri. 100 Anni di fotografia Leica investigates for the first time the great revolution in the world of photography, and vision altogether, made possible by Leica cameras since the Twenties of the past century to date. More than 350 original vintage prints by renowned photographers, along with historical documents from the Leica archive, videos about photographers (such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Garry Winogrand), vintage advertising posters, historical magazines and first editions of books accompany the visitor in a journey through time and history, to discover those revolutionary changes allowed by such a technological innovation as the "Ur-Leica". The first successful 35mm camera not only represented a radical change in the field of photography, but, along with the later-produced Leica models, triggered a significant metamorphosis in our perception of society and the surrounding world as well.

Photo after photo, in the exhibition reveals a large amount of images impressed in our memory which have been shot with a Leica, and how all these photographs thus constitute a wide kaleidoscope of the photographic trends and developments of the last ten decades.

In 1914 Oskar Barnack constructs the first still picture camera for the 35 mm film format. The construction of the “Ur-Leica” marks the birth of dynamic photography with vastly increased creative scope, affording the photographer countless new forms of expression and enabled to observe the world in many ways - and keeps doing so to today. If style is made of vision and technique, there is no doubt that the availability of a new device, so flexible and versatile, as well as capable of following the photographer everywhere he goes and in any situation, from the most intimate to the most official ones, has allowed generations of authors to see, imagine, document and shoot reality in a totally different way.

There was no Leica photographer who did not have a special attachment to his camera. First of all Henri Cartier-Bresson, who was never able to move away from the Leica, saying: “All of the other cameras I've tried have always convinced me to come back to her ... As long as I'll do this work, this is my camera”.

The exhibition is made up of 16 sections that interweave the thematic order together with the chronology, on a path from the birth of the Leica up to the latest visions. Over the years, the Leica was progressively used by photographers of different nationalities, extending its use to different types of reportage. From war photojournalism (in 1930, Erich Salomon was the first photojournalist who brought a Leica to the United States, and then to Spain during the Civil War), up to using photography as a propaganda tool. But the Leica also reached a more humanistic research, being used in the fashion industry, once again revolutionizing the genre: it allowed moving this kind of photography from the studio to the street. By crossing all these different genres and traveling around the world, the exhibition offers the images of the greatest international performers that have made the Leica their preferred creative tool. From black and white photos by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sebastião Salgado, Elliott Erwitt and Gianni Berengo Gardin, to the color by William Eggleston, Fred Herzog and Joel Meyerowitz, the spectator will be able to admire the best of international photography with a privileged look upon Italy. Alongside Gianni Berengo Gardin's images, the Roman exhibition will also honor first-class Italian artists, such as Piergiorgio Branzi, Paolo Pellegrin, Valerio Bispuri and Lorenzo Castore.

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