Ferdinando Scianna’s foray into fashion photography happened by chance. The then new label, Dolce and Gabbana, wanted to commission a photographer not from a fashion background and chose him. The characteristic approach Scianna developed to photographing fashion, drew heavily on his background as a documentarian of his home country, with Italian social traditions, religious iconography, and the concept of the matriarch as the head of the family coming together to shape his style.

The act of the photographer is closer to reading than it is to writing. They are the readers of the world

Ferdinando Scianna
© Ferdinando Scianna | Magnum Photos

Ferdinando Scianna started taking photographs in the 1960s while studying literature, philosophy and art history at the University of Palermo. It was then that he began to photograph the Sicilian people systematically.

After moving to Milan in 1966 he worked as a photographer then journalist, writing on politics and on photography and literature. He entered the field of fashion photography in the late 1980s, producing pioneering work that brought fashion into the streets of his home of Sicily.

Scianna has also explored the subject of religious rituals and photographed across Italy, America and beyond, as well as collaborating with famous writers such as Leonardo Sciascia. He joined Magnum Photos in 1982.

© Ferdinando Scianna | Magnum Photos

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