Il Bello & Il Selvaggio, a photographic journey

What is The Beautiful?
What is The Wild?
You have turned around these two concepts : Nature itself is Beautiful and Human Nature is wild.
— Visitor of the exhibition ‘Il Bello & Il Selvaggio’

On the 7th of December, TIAC hosted the Vernissage of a beautiful photography exhibition named ‘Il Bello & Il Selvaggio’ (The Beautiful and The Wild) by Alexandra Morris and Rony Cadavid, two Photographers from two completely different backgrounds who have decided to combine their personal perspective of the world to put together a show that offers to the viewer a journey where the human being is both, the observer and the subject to be observed.

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The exhibition is composed by a series of wild landscapes by Alexandra Morris, described by many of the visitors as “doors to new magnificent worlds” along with a series of portraits by Rony Cadavid representing characters surrounded by nothing but the deepest darkness, as if the only thing that matters is “the being”.

The exhibition started successfully. During the vernissage, TIAC was full of people curious about the stories told through the images. Some of visitors were moved by a wilderness feeling found in the images of nature, some others felt observed and almost threatened by the portraits. One of the most powerful comments expressed during the evening was that “you don't really know who is The Beautiful and what is The Wild”.

 Photo by Nelson Plasencia

Photo by Nelson Plasencia

When asked about their opinion on the exhibition, Alex and Rony have both given answers that trigger rather deep reflections on the human condition in relation with itself and the its surroundings.

Morris thinks that “in an era of growth and hyper-concentration on the Self, we are straying from our surroundings and losing touch with the very things that give us life, sustenance, wonder and beauty. Everything that exists, including ourselves, is cyclical. A never-ending flow of contrasts that creates both the light and the darkness of existence. The images I chose for Il Bello & Il Selvaggio, focus on the undercurrent of contrasts. From what we desire, to what we wish to avoid; from what is known, to the foreign; the distance between life and death, light and dark, whole and abstract, and that which we perceive as peaceful or disturbing. It is this undercurrent, this flow, these contrasts, that create a harmony in the world, a restorative balance to the otherwise hectic and overwhelming landscape of life.”

On the other hand, Cadavid says that “the portraits displayed are the result of my own incapability of expressing myself through words, therefore photography is the means through which I can organize my ideas and communicate with the others while allowing my models, most of them close friends, to satisfy their need to explore and bring out unknown aspects of themselves. Some of the elements used in the pictures, like hats, furs, cigarettes or make-up, are personal objects they have proposed themselves to me as symbols of a hidden alter-ego that is asking for a voice”.

 Photo by Nelson Plasencia

Photo by Nelson Plasencia

The highlight of the show is a picture of a Lioness in her natural environment by Morris, exposed next to a portrait by Cadavid named ‘Il Bello’ (The Beautiful). These images portray two completely different subjects, one in color and the other in black and white, both staring straight to the viewer as if they are looking out for the same thing or as if they share the same essence, even when their worlds are apart. The message that seems to be send is: An animal is beautiful when it’s allowed to be free, a man is wild when is in connection with his soul.

It was very refreshing to see that the exhibition was not only based on the demonstration of the photographer’s technical expertise with the camera; it was, instead, an invitation to get in touch with the inner worlds of both artists.

The Photographers

 Photo by Nelson Plasencia

Photo by Nelson Plasencia

Alexandra Morris is an american photographer from Colorado. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in New York with a BA in Photography 2007, worked as an Intern for Head of Photography Unit at The World Food Program Headquarters in Rome, and has lived in Florence for the past 10 years.

For her, photography is not just the creation of an aesthetically pleasing image, but the ability to make one look at life differently and to contemplate the elements unseen to the naked eye. The true magic of the medium is in its power to make beauty visible, where at first glance there is sadness or discomfort; to elevate sight beyond the vibrancy of colors or the superficial allure of a scene. It arouses contemplation of circumstance, catalyst, and outcome – all that is unbeknownst of the subject, but begs exploration and further discovery. A photograph is most potent and intriguing when it successfully captures the fundamental core and essence of its subject; when there is no guard up, mask on, or any invisible veil that diverts attention from the subject's raw and true nature.

 Photo by Nelson Plasencia

Photo by Nelson Plasencia

Rony Cadavid is a venezuelan photographer who moved to Italy 8 years ago after the venezuelan political crisis. He graduated from IUTIRLA in Caracas, where he got a Master Degree in Audiovisual Sciences in 2007. In 2008 he specialized in journalistic and documentary photography at Organizaciòn Nelson Garrido of Caracas.

At the beginning of his career Rony preferred to photograph architecture and nature, two subjects that exclude people. He confesses that he was afraid of engaging into portraiture because he felt it was too intimate and invasive for both, the model and himself. Once in Italy, he had the opportunity to get involved as a model with the world of fine arts, posing as a life model for several realistic artists. During his modelling session, Rony realized that it is a pleasant experience to be portrait by someone who knows how to observe you carefully, reason why he decided to start a series of portraits as an experiment. Currently portraiture is his signature and his preferred genre, since he realized that through the encounter between him and the model it is possible to create a channel of communication that turns into a piece of art.

Anna Rosa Paladino