The View Finders

Four Photographers Keep Up the Image

Nino Migliori: Untitled (1951)

"Modernism came a little late to postwar Italy," explains Keith de Lellis, whose eponymous gallery represents Italian Nino Migliori, now in his seventies. "I first discovered Migliori's work in La Nuova Fotografia Italiana, a 1959 book by Giuseppe Turroni that's my bible. Migliori was an artist and close friend of the still-life painter Giorgio Morandi. He began by doing very abstract images using a technique where you scratch the negative. He continued to work in ways that pushed photo abstraction to its limits, but, at the same time, he was doing other, Cartier-Bresson-inspired pictures. This photograph was taken early in his career. In a way it's so implausible you'd swear it was patched together. It's not one of his well-known photographs, strangely. I discovered it in the archives, and when I saw the image my jaw just

dropped. It's one of my favorite photos of the 20th century. Why? Because it's beautiful and sexy and almost impossible to conceive of as real because the bodies are at clean right angles and the diver is so perfectly parallel to the horizon line. It's an amazing photograph, a very lucky moment in time."

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