Work, Dignity, and Art in Paolo Monti's Photography

Exploring the labour that goes into the photographer's images

By Fondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Fondazione BEIC

Hand. The sign of the years. The sign of time (1968/1970) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

The BEIC Foundation pays a little homage to the women and men that have built and build every day the world we live in. We choose a selection of images taken from the Monti Archives to illustrate the dignity of their labour.

Unidentified location. Paolo Monti (1950/1960) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Who is Paolo Monti?

Paolo Monti, born in 1908 in Italy, has been an important photographer of the 20th century. His production ranges from art to advertisement and everyday life.

Anzola d'Ossola. Portraits. Old man (1970/1975) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

The farm labour, the contentment of building an environment suitable for human life through the wise observation and collaboration with nature and the manual work. From the survival instinct to the abstract thought to plan and build a future.

Turkey. Geyre village. Inhabitants (1962) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Turkey. Huts and inhabitants (1962) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Portraits of women (1950/1960) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Portraits. Parish priest (1955) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Workers and machinery (1950/1955) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Technical progress seems to turn away humans from their natural environment, but human labour transforms matter, such as does Nature. Practical and intellectual activities keep defining the fascinating development of history: culture is created through human labour.

Casoli. Ancient smithy (1962) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Milan. Umanitaria Society, Professional courses (1964) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Restoration in the laboratory (1971) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Portraits. Carlo Cocquio in his atelier (1940/1947) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

The knowledge of the materials is the starting point not only to make use of them for practical purposes, but also to satisfy the imaginative need to build new worlds.

Venice. Biennale. Portraits of Alberto Giacometti (1962) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Milan. Atelier of the sculptor Agenore Fabbri. (1961) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Dance school (1960/1970) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Artistic creation is a tool to experience beauty with the body and the senses, to understand and embrace emotion, to complete the human being in its being part of a universal whole.

New York. Jam Session by E. Smith (1965) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Set designed by Luciano De Vita for Sergei Prokofiev's opera, The Fiery Angel (1973) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Diurnal course of photography. Paolo Monti. (1961/1981) by Paolo MontiFondazione BEIC - Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura

Paolo Monti has also been a professor of theory and practice in photography. He died in 1982, he is still an important figure in this field.

Credits: Story

Exhibition developed by Ambra Carboni, Lisa Longhi, Marcella Medici, Mara Persello, members of the BEIC Digital Library team.
The Paolo Monti Fund is owned by the BEIC Foundation and located in the Civico Archivio. These images are licensed under the CC BY-SA 4.0 International.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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