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THE USE OF PHOTOGRAPHY

 




4. The use of photography
To Alinari brothers

Lamberto Vitali has showed me some photographs of the king Vittorio Emanuele II, made by Alinari brothers. One in particular stroked me: on the same sheet there are two almost identical images of the king but one of them shows him more in profile. Actually one of these photos is retouched. The photographer has used a big plate for some small carte de visite photographs measuring few centimetres in order not to waste plates and, for his convenience, has realized two emulsions using a chassis with two small openings. The result is this double picture: on one side the king looks disdainful and a bit heroic, on the other, in the untouched image, he appears like an old man, with bags under his eyes, similar to an old mummy. The simultaneous presence of two photos, or rather two realities on the same plate is striking, also because of the subject portrayed, a king, the image of power. Two apparently similar but actually opposite images are placed on the same support, as if to represent the truth and its manipulation. They denote an attitude that reflects the way photography is used: the true story, which remains hidden in the archives, and its embellished, pleasant and engaging version, which is spread abroad.