THE TREASURE OF HIS YOUTH: THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF PAOLO DI PAOLO
Scen.: Bruce Weber, Antonio Sánchez, Eva Lindemann-Sánchez. F.: Theodore Stanley. M.: Antonio Sánchez. Mus.: John Leftwich. Int.: Paolo Di Paolo, Silvia Di Paolo, Giuseppe Casetti, Luca Stopinni, Guido Stoppini, Matilde Caputo, Leonardo Caputo, Elena Di Paolo, Tony Vaccaro, Marina Cicogna, Bruce Weber (voce narrante). Prod.: Little Bear Inc.. DCP. D.: 105’. Col.
About 20 years ago, I was in the basement of my parents’ house searching for my skis. As I was looking around, I discovered a filing cabinet stuffed with negatives and orange Agfa boxes filled with prints. I asked my father, “What are these pictures?” He said, “Well, I was a photographer once.” I was 20 years old at the time, and he had never once mentioned this to me. I had always known my father as a writer and historian – that had been his profession all my life… The photos he took for “Il Mondo” were not related to famous people – instead they had a very distinct feeling and atmosphere, reflecting the difficult conditions people were facing in Italy after the war. “Il Mondo” didn’t pay much for his photos, so my father eventually started working for a bigger magazine called “Tempo Illustrato”. They commissioned him to do stories all over the world, including portraits of the neo-realist actors and directors…
I think the secret of my father’s pictures is their intimacy, because these people really became his friends. He would have lunch with Vittorio Gassman and Alberto Sordi. When Kim Novak or Gloria Swanson came to Rome, he would send flowers to their rooms at the hotel with a note inviting them to his studio. He travelled with Pasolini, went to the beach with Anna Magnani and her son. My father always used natural light and favoured spontaneity over a carefully constructed image. He considered himself an amateur – taking photographs out of love and passion – who was fortunate that it became his profession.
Silvia Di Paolo
Paolo’s photographs have touched my soul – they are like lines from the golden age of Roman poetry, or an aria sung by Franco Corelli. I’m excited to see him join the ranks of renowned photographers of his time, including Cartier-Bresson in France or Cecil Beaton in England.