On Saturday 14 July, at 6 p.m., the Hermann Geiger Cultural Foundation will inaugurate the exhibition titled “Il Mondo in Bianco e Nero – The World in Black and White”, staged at its new exhibition hall at 32 Piazza Guerrazzi, in Cecina (Livorno).
The exhibition is mounted and promoted by the Geiger Foundation in collaboration with the National Geographic Society, one of the largest scientific and educational institutions in the world, founded in Washington, D.C., in 1888 with the aim of “increasing and diffusing geographic knowledge while promoting the conservation of the world’s cultural, historical, and natural resources”.
National Geographic possesses a collection of over 11 million photographs, of which less than 2 per cent has been published. The Society is known all over the world for popularizing geography through magazines, tv programmes, films, books and exhibitions: the official journal of the Society, «National Geographic Magazine», is published in 32 languages and has more than 50 million readers, while the National Geographic Channel broadcasts in 165 countries.
The exhibition, curated by the Art Director of the Foundation, Alessandro Schiavetti, includes 55 black-and-white photographs belonging to the National Geographic Society’s archives. The pictures have never been presented in Italy before.
The images on show were captured between 1880 and 1950 ca., in different regions of the world. Seventeen photographers are represented, all of whom worked for National Geographic.
Through their travels across the United States, Clifton R. Adams, J. Baylor Roberts, Edwin L. Wisherd and B. Anthony Stewart recorded life moments of ordinary people between the 1920s and 1940s; Ray V. Davis and Willis T. Lee were among the first to photograph the beauty of Carlsbad Caverns, the marvellous caves of New Mexico which are now a World Heritage Site; at the beginning of the 20th century, with over 2,000 photos, A. B. Lewisdocumented his travel to the islands of Melanesia and New Guinea, a land where Captain Frank Hurley also took pictures; Dr. Joseph F. Rock, who spent nearly thirty years in China and Tibet, documented the life of Buddhists in those lands; African tribes are the subjects of some of the photographs taken by Volkmar K. Wentzel and Vittorio Sella, who is renowned for his ascents of the Alps and the Himalayas; George Shiras III was the first to take night photographs of wild life using flash. Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden’s portraits stand out for their subjects, above all young men from Taormina, depicted mainly in classical postures. Maynard Owen Williams’s travels are documented by the photographs he took in Paris, but also in India, while Pierre Daye was a witness of colonialism in the Belgian Congo. The photographs taken by Alexander Graham Bell, second president of the National Geographic Society, portray the flight experiments he performed together with his assistants in the early 20th century. On the other hand, the Newfoundland Expedition of 1910-13 to Antarctica, under commander Robert Falcon Scott, is documented through the pictures taken by Herbert G. Ponting.
The exhibition will also include the photographers’ biographies and a number of historical photographic equipment items and materials from the rich collection of Antonio Giammarino (Pescara). A camera dating back to the early 20th century, lent by internationally renowned photographer Romano Cagnoni, will also be on show.
Il Mondo in Bianco e Nero – The World in Black and White
From 14 July to September 16, 2012
Hermann Geiger Cultural Foundation, Exhibition Hall, Piazza Guerrazzi 32, Cecina (Livorno)
Opening hours: daily from 6 to 11 p.m. - Free admission