The inconclusive Italian general elections in February caused a political stalemate which lasted two months and still echoes in the current political instability of the country.
With the participation of a web-based anti-establishment movement led by Beppe Grillo which earned 25% of the votes, none of the traditional coalitions had enough seats to form a new government. This led the President of the Republic, re-elected for the first time in the country's history, to form a grand coalition government which included the major coalitions that participated in the electoral race. After municipal elections took place, former Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi was convicted for tax fraud and sentenced to 4 years of prison. This led to interior conflicts in his party, to a split, and to the beginning of his decay. On November 27th, the Senate expelled Silvio Berlusconi from the Italian Parliament, ending a two-decades office.
In February 2014 the President of the Republic gave a mandate to Matteo Renzi, the 39-years-old mayor of Florence and leader of the Democratic Party, to replace Enrico Letta - who was forced out as prime minister in an intraparty coup - and to form the third government since 2011, when Silvio Berlusconi resigned as the last elected Prime Minister of Italy.Journalism, Photography, Photojournalism2015
The greatest perfection is imperfection.
To Aristotle perfect meant complete, nothing to add or subtract. To Empedocles perfection depends on incompleteness since the latter possesses a potential for development and improvement. Here lies the paradox formulated by Italian Renaissance philosopher Giulio Cesare Vanini. The paradox of perfection is that imperfection is perfect.
I travelled around Italy researching imperfect beauties in six different non-conventional beauty pageants and applying a color symbolism to each one:
Miss Chubby, pink as softness;
Miss Trans, purple as transformation;
Miss Mediterranea, yellow as youth;
Miss Plastic Surgery, fuchsia as sensual;
Miss Drag Queen, orange as vibrant;
Miss Over, blue as wisdom.
Six imperfect beauties (due to their weight, clothes, excess of silicone, or age) if compared to the typology of beauty imposed by mass media and the consumerist society we live in. In Italy, in particular, beauty has become a political tool during the Berlusconi era. Since the 80’s, his media empire has introduced a culture of luxury and sex to shape his electorate. Italy became in the mean time a country where half-naked beautiful women are plucked from TV studios and elevated into powerful positions. This culture has generated an unprecedented wave of castings and beauty pageants for girls and women of all ages all over Italy.
In response to the aesthetic and political state of my country, I worked on Perfect, a series of 36 photographs focusing on how the beauty dictated by our politicized consumerist society is emulated by the masses, and on the link between imperfection and perfection.Documentary, Fashion, Photography2012
“If you gotta die, and we all gotta die,
it’s me you want to bury you. Everybody in Harlem knows that.
I’m the guy who puts a smile on your face. Other places,
you just look dead”
The Isaiah Owens Funeral Home is in the heart of Harlem, New York. Mr. Owens is an artist, and the corpses are his masterpieces. From the moment they die, the undertaker accompanies the deceased in a process of burial customs resembling the ancient Egyptians. With dedication and respect, the modern Anubis, God of the dead, beautifully prepares the defunct for their after-life.
Death often represents a taboo in Western cultures. A taboo that Isaiah Owens challenges every day.Documentary, Photography, Photojournalism2012
Immigration in Lampedusa.Documentary, Photography, Photojournalism2012
12 photographs from the "Hill of Shame" series, Lampedusa, Italy.Documentary, Photojournalism, Photography2012
Carneval at the Teatro La Fenice, Venice, Italy.Documentary, Photography, Photojournalism2012
Borough Park, a jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn.Documentary, Photography, Photojournalism2012
All images © Gianni Cipriano 2012.