A selection of Gardin’s works is currently featured in the major exhibition Grandi Maestri. 100 Anni di Fotografia Leica, open at the Complesso del Vittoriano – Ala Brasini from 16 November 2017 to 18 February 2018.
Born in 1930, Gianni Berengo Gardin has had a significant influence on the nature of Italian photojournalism. His unique perception of the country and its people, everyday life and extraordinary moments has always been a distinguishing characteristic of his work. Time and again, he has found the delicate balance between conveying current news and capturing timeless moments. Not only were his images published in countless newspapers and magazines, but his work has also been collated into an incredible 200 books to date. In a recent conversation, he commented on the topic with an amiable smile: 'I make my books for selfish reasons. When photographs are published in a newspaper, they are thrown out the next day. A book, on the other hand, is kept in a library: the pictures survive.‘ Indeed, many of the images Gardin originally shot within the context of reportages have long become icons of the 20th century’s classic black-and-white photography.
The photographer’s career and the body of work he created have been closely linked with Leica for more than sixty years. ‘My relationship with Leica began long before the M system even existed – it goes back to when I was shooting with a Leica IIIc. Then, in 1954, when the M3 was released, it turned into a boundless passion. I have owned every M model that has come out ever since. All the way up to the M7, which is still in use today. It’s the camera I work with most often. For me, the Leica is not just any camera, but THE camera.’ So it comes as no surprise that in his home, all of his cameras have been given pride of place in display cases. Now this collection has been enhanced by another, very special new addition: as part of the Leica Hall of Fame Award, Gardin received a specially constructed, fully mechanical Leica M-A with lens.
A film (including the full interview) was produced to mark the occasion – offering further insights into the photographer’s remarkable life’s work.
The Leica Hall of Fame Award was established in 2011. It is designed to honour outstanding photographers whose work has greatly contributed to both the medium of photography and the Leica brand. The previous winners of the Leica Hall of Fame Award are Steve McCurry, Barbara Klemm, Nick Út, René Burri, Thomas Hoepker, Ara Güler und Joel Meyerowitz. (Ulrich Rüter)