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Romano Cagnoni

Art, war, and documentary photographer
by

Vennetta Haas

on 6 December 2010

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Transcript of Romano Cagnoni

Romano Cagnoni Pietrasanta, Tuscany, famous for its sculpture studios, where he used to photograph sculptures and decided to go to live in London in 1958.
Based in London for 30 years, he worked as a freelance contributing to different European magazines. He started to work with Simon Guttmann In 1963 he met the artist Berenice Sydney, who he then married in 1970. He documented world events published internationally: Vietnam war (he was the first western non-communist photographer to be allowed in the North of Vietnam (1965) with the distinguished British journalist James Cameron (journalist), Cambodia, Nigerian civil war, Israel, South America, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Chechnya, Kosovo, amongst many others Well known are the forbidden stories that Cagnoni was able to photograph: the Soviet Army in Afghanistan in 1980, the Soviet Army in Poland in 1981, the Argentina airports during the Falklands war in 1982. He was the first photographer to set up a studio on the front line photographing warriors during the fighting in Chechnya in 1995 In 1968 he won the Overseas Press Club Award, for his Nigerian civil war documentation published in "Life Magazine", the German bronze medal Art Directors’ Club for documenting with a large format camera the war destruction in former Yugoslavia and many Italian prizes. He returned to live in his home town in Italy from where he travels worldwide for his work.

Cagnoni has held 43 solo exhibitions, 43 group shows worldwide and retrospectives. In the last one, at Arengario Palace in Milan, the exhibition was called "ChiaroScuro", which also means "darkness and humour", photographs that show the darkness of war and sometimes the humour of every day life. Opposites that Cagnoni feels are the essence of his work. The Sunday Times former editor Harold Evans, in his book "Pictures on a Page: Photo-Journalism, Graphics and Picture Editing", mentions Cagnoni as being one of the most famous photographers in the world with Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bill Brandt, Don McCullin and Eugene Smith.[
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