4. THE USE OF PHOTOGRAPHY. FOR THE FRATELLI ALINARI, 1971
Lamberto Vitali had shown me some photographs by the Fratelli Alinari, portraying King Vittorio Emanuele II. I was struck by one in particular: on the same plate there were two images of the king. They were practically identical except that one of them showed the king more in profile than the other. The truth of the matter is that one of the photos had been touched up. The photographer had used a large-format plate for very small photographs, similar to calling cards of just a few inches in size, for the sake of convenience, in different poses. Using a chassis with two small openings he made two emulsions. The result of his work is this double photo: in one the king has a proud, somewhat heroic look; in the other, which hasn’t been touched up, the king looks old, with dark circles under his eyes, as if he were mummified by age. The presence at the same time not so much of two photos as of two realities on one sheet is surprising, also owing to the figure portrayed, being a king, the very image of power. On the same imprint two apparently identical images, but they are actually opposites, as if one were true and the other false, the indications of an approach that is, in fact, the use of photography: the true story that remains in the archives, and the embellished, more palatable one that is disseminated.