Stylist of Reality

Alberto Venzago

March 10, 2023

The great retrospective of the Swiss photographer at the Ernst Leitz Museum Wetzlar has opened.
A lively crowd of visitors attended the exhibition vernissage held yesterday. With around 150 motifs, the presentation at the Ernst Leitz Museum Wetzlar – on display until May 14 – offers exciting insights into the photographer's work. In more than five decades, his Leica has captured very different subjects and explored all forms of photography, from documentary to freely staged.

Venzago has travelled most of the world, and lived in Australia, Japan and New York before returning to Switzerland. He always loved to cross borders, and restlessness was part of his daily life for many years. Whether reports on Iran at the time of the Islamic Revolution, the deforestation of the rainforest, child prostitution in Manila, voodoo ceremonies in Benin or, last but not least, his many years observing the Yakuza – organised crime in Japan –, Venzago always sought the greatest possible proximity to his subjects, not infrequently exposing himself to life-threatening dangers.

People have always been at the core of his internationally published and award-winning reportages. Venzago is not only an experienced photojournalist, however; he is also a professional studio photographer whose advertising campaigns – both memorable and aesthetic – have frequently attracted attention. Very personal portraits of international stars such as Tina Turner, Penelope Cruz, Sting or Mick Jagger, as well as a multitude of free motifs, demonstrate the diversity of his creativity. Time and again, it is clear how precisely he understands the best way to capture the world in all its fascinating facets.

The cross-section of his work now on display in Wetzlar under the title Stylist of Reality, presents the most important stages of his life's work. The focal points are: his series on the voodoo cult; the Yakuza; a selection of his celebrity portraits; and other free works including rather quiet landscape and nature shots. The fact that Venzago has long been considered a sensation as a film director is also made clear thanks to a selection of film material that is also part of the exhibition. 

More information as well as the opening hours at Ernst Leitz-Museum. Steidl Verlag is publishing the accompanying mongraph: Taking Pictures. Making Pictures.
Ulrich Rüter
ALL IMAGES ON THIS PAGE: © Alberto Venzago

LFI 4.2021+-

Find a selection of works from the oeuvre of the Swiss photographer in LFI Magazine 4.2021. More

Alberto Venzago+-

IMG_5016.Venzago by Peter Lindbergh
© Peter Lindbergh

was born in Zurich on February 10, 1950. After studying Remedial Education and Clarinet, he decided in his mid-twenties to become a self-taught photographer. He gained rapid success, moving effortlessly between photo-journalistic documentation, free artistic work, and advertising photography. He also works as a film director. More


Stylist of Reality

Alberto Venzago