1970 by Luigi Di Sarro
The Camera Club of New York, until 3rd July
Di Sarro’s photography has only recently been rediscovered. An experimental Italian photographer in the 1970s Di Sarro died at the age of 37 in 1979, leaving behind a collection of photographs that capture the experimental and theatrical nature of a period in time. The photographs range from black and white – poignant and subtle compositions, capturing a girlfriend folded into a wire bin, she gazes at us through the mesh, smoking – to the drama of the Cibachrome coloured prints. These are shadowy frames injected with glowing and resonant colour: luminous green, lamp-like orange and the warning red of a darkroom. All the photographs are playful in their exposures, tracing figures as they walk across a room, multiplying faces in movement or casting people as haunting silhouettes. Untitled features Di Sarro himself, he often took self-portraits; the combination of his striking looks, together with the clear facial awareness of his artistic aims, make him an intriguing, often slightly chilling, subject. Here his face appears centrally in a red that is as vivid as it is dense, clinging to the skin and seeping into what would be the whites of the eyes. The clarity of his face, though simplified with the spreading of dye, is crisp; eerily defined, it is held in the black that creates its outlines. His face is then repeated to his right in juxtaposing green; it glows at his shoulder, a devil creating instruction, or a conscience turning away. Barely there, this green is ghostly, bright yet translucent, hovered next to the red in a psychedelic game of colour experimentation. It is this that makes Di Sarro’s photography so compelling, an openness to creative play that creates dark, intense results.