Flashback. Europe in the 2007 photographers’ gaze

Flashback. Scatti da Fotografia Europea 2007

curated by Monica Leoni and Elisabeth Sciarretta


The Panizzi library’s photo archive will be participating in the 2023 edition with a selection from the European Photography festival of 2007, an edition that also focused on the theme of Europe, in relation to its cities, a reality that was already in turmoil and undergoing strong evolution at the time.


Even on that occasion, many of the authors invited had naturally considered, as the focus of their research, the relationships between people, more or less conscious or transitional inhabitants of the cities themselves, their absence and their complexity. A theme that, re-proposed more than 15 years later, can be a source of new considerations on our recent past.


With these assumptions, the selected works are those of authors who, by placing the inhabitants of European cities at the centre of their projects, have then elaborated their personal research, working and living in Reggio Emilia (Marina Ballo Charmet, Giorgio Barrera) or investigating the reality of other European cities (Fabrizio Cicconi and Kay Uwe Schulte Bunert, Jean Louis Garnell, Marcello Grassi and Fabrizio Orsi, Klavdij Sluban). These are accompanied by some great photographers of the previous generation who have produced significant projects dedicated to Europe and its inhabitants (Bernard Plossu, Pentti Sammallahti, Ferdinando Scianna).


This small ‘anthology’ of the 2007 edition would like to be the starting point of this 2023 festival, for a thought that, from the images of the past and through the experiences of the present, also on the basis of recent and disruptive european events, explores new research opportunities that can help us imagine the cities and citizens of tomorrow’s Europe.


Listen to the curator’s words Elisabeth Sciarretta


MARINA BALLO CHARMET (Milan, Italy, 1952)

Philosophy and psychology, areas of his university education, remain staples of his language whether used in photography or video.

Since the mid-1980s he has devoted himself to photography, favoring subjects and scenes of everyday life, isolated from spatial-temporal indications and determined contexts, until they take on a conceptual connotation.

Numerous solo and group exhibitions in galleries and institutions of European importance.

GIORGIO BARRERA (Cagliari 1969)

After his initial collaboration with Joel Meyerowitz, his research became intertwined with interests in sociology: the gestures and rituals that mark daily life become the protagonists of a representation that is poised between reality and fiction. In addition to photography, Barrera tries his hand at documentaries and short films.

FABRIZIO CICCONI (Reggio Emilia, 1964)

He began his profession as a photographer in 1987, focusing his research on the individual and making mainly portraits, as evidenced by his first solo exhibition in 1991. After a long period of collaborations with cultural institutions and music groups, his research extends to working and living places, producing nationwide advertising campaigns for magazines and advertising agencies.

A work documenting a Kolkhoz in Uzbekistan is concluded in 2005 was included in the circuit of the Rome International Photography Review.

JEAN LOUIS GARNELL (Dolo, France, 1954)

He began in the 1980s by photographing the suburbs of Toulouse and continued with the language of documentation when he participated in the prestigious photographic expedition of Datar (Délégation à l’Aménagement du Territoire et à l’Action Régionale, 1984) and in 1989 in Mission Transmanche. His attention shifted a few years later to everyday environments, domestic spaces and objects. He has been teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts in Marseille since 2005.

MARCELLO GRASSI (Reggio Emilia, 1960)

Dedicated to photography from a very young age, he shows a deep interest in the world of archaeology that distinguishes his projects, conducted in Italian and European museums. In 1999, on the occasion of the exhibition at the Musée Reattu in Arles, Federico Motta Editore published the volume Etruria. In 2003, together with Fabrizio Orsi, he carried out the project “Luzzara. Fifty years and more…” published by Skira editore. In 2021 he published the volume “Archeologia dello Sguardo” with Electa editore.

He has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in various cities in Europe where his photographs are kept in museums and institutions.

Marcello Grassi is represented exclusively by IAGA Contemporary Art.

KAI-UWE SCHULTE-BUNERT (Aschersleben, former GDR, 1969)

Beginning in 1999 he devoted himself professionally to photography, working for theaters, dance companies and orchestras in Germany and accompanying his stage photography with exhibitions, publications. Since 2002 he began a personal journey of reading the landscape, particularly marginal and uninhabitable spaces.

Numerous his participations in solo and group exhibitions both in Italy and abroad. He lives between Berlin and Reggio Emilia.

FABRIZIO ORSI (Reggio Emilia, 1961)

His training, based on art studies, was completed at the Higher Institute for Artistic Industries in Urbino in 1986.In 1995 his first solo exhibition “The Moments of Sculpture” was held.

He won the Targa d’Oro for Photography at the “Premio Arte 2001,” organized by the magazine Arte

and in 2003 together with Marcello Grassi he was commissioned by the Fondazione Un Paese di Luzzara to carry out the project “Luzzara. Fifty years and more…” published by Skira publishing house in a volume with a text by Luciano Ligabue.

BERNARD PLOSSU (Dalat, Vietnam, 1945)

He became interested in photography during a trip to the Sahara made at the age of thirteen with his father, and the trip would remain the context in which he devoted himself to his projects, refined and intense reportage. The use of blurred photography will be the stylistic hallmark of his language, a trace of the continuous movement of his eyes and body. Globe-trotter by nature within a few years he moved between India, the French Alps, Senegal, Egypt, New Mexico, Italy and Nigeria. His photographs have been exhibited in the world’s greatest museums and are in all public and private collections.


Desolate landscapes, often wintry and nocturnal, are the favorite subjects for his representations in which wide, open spaces are evocatively rendered, enlivened by the presence of some animal caught in an attitude capable of establishing a relationship with the viewer. Underlying his photographic research are his numerous trips to Hungary, Russia, Turkey, Nepal, Japan, Ireland and England.

Special care in the printing technique allows the author to obtain an art book whose quality is equal to that of an original print.


Abandoning his studies in Literature and Philosophy at the University of Palermo, he followed his youthful passion for photography, which led him to collaborate with Leonardo Sciscia for the publication of “Religious Feasts in Sicily” (Nadar Prize). Entering the Mgnum agency, the language of photojournalism is not neglected, but manages to merge with different registers: social reportage, fashion and advertising photography.

His work as a photographer is flanked by critical and journalistic activity that has led to his publication of numerous articles in Italy and France on topics related to photography and communication with images in general.

KLAVDIJ SLUBAN (Paris, 1963)

Having assimilated Georges Fèvre’s lesson on black-and-white printing technique, his stylistic signature is characterized by deep blacks and backlit silhouettes. References to Anglo-American literature betray his university education, which permeates his “photographic travels” (Black Sea, Caribbean, Balkans and Russia).

Since 1995, when not abroad, Sluban has been conducting photography workshops with young detainees, and this endeavor has been followed up inside detention camps in Eastern Europe-in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and Lithuania, and in detention centers in Moscow and St. Petersburg.


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