Marco Glaviano Ashley Richardson (St Barth), 1984
If I had more time available and above all greater financial availability, I would certainly have been in Milan last month to visit the solo exhibition dedicated to the Sicilian photographer Marco Glaviano. Fortunately there are the catalogs and having as a companion someone who is truly passionate about photography I had the opportunity to look at "Jazz & Models" (this is the title of the exhibition) and appreciate the art of the Sicilian who emigrated to America and who made his fortune there by being able express himself as he wished.
Glaviano is considered one of the "top" photographers of international fashion and until today I admit that I remembered images of him in which the models' nudes were surprisingly fascinating. Now, however, I know that Glaviano did not only photograph kilometre-long legs and protruding breasts, but as a jazz enthusiast, he was in love with it since he was a boy and that he had always intended to make a book on the icons of this genre. Unfortunately we know that art is avant-garde and that it never finds the right time to express itself and so when Glaviano turned to a publisher for a photographic book on the masters of jazz the answer was eloquent: "Whoever is interested in a collection of portraits of old black men?”. Here that collection was exhibited at Palazzo Morando in Milan until yesterday and had the title "Jazz & Models", hence the splendid volume that I still have in my hands where one can admire one hundred and thirty photographs, most of which in black and white on this photographer's two main passions: models and jazz.
There are portraits of unforgettable myths such as that of the trumpeter Dizzie Gillespie chewing his Tuscan cigar in amusement; B.B. King and his guitar, Elvin Jones the drummer who is portrayed in the most emblematic way of jazz icons: tight mouth, gold chain around his neck and sweat on his forehead; as well as another iconic element of jazz, the large ring when a house is found on Jimmy Heat's ring finger, then there are the dark glasses of Sonny Rollins, the very white teeth of Richard Davis as well as one of the most beautiful photographers of the jazz genre: Chet Baker's atavistic torment. Alternating with these mythical figures of jazz music there are a whole series of the best-known models that the eighties and nineties offered us, in artistic poses where they express the maximum of eros: Cindy Crawford, Eva Herzigova, Joan Severance, Julie Anderson.
Glaviano's solo show must have been truly interesting, especially for the jazz portraits as defined by the author himself: "There's nothing to be done, they have an edge, a special relationship with the world. Look them in the eyes, shiny between the elephant skin, these myths of the genre: they are beings without malice inside, you can read life in their faces" and so it is for the models as the photographer himself confesses. “And that all these photos of me, if you think about it, were taken listening to jazz.”
Marco Glaviano Julie Anderson, Miami 1992
Marco Glaviano Chet Baker (Pescara, Italy) 1975
Marco Glaviano Joan Severance, New York 1995
Marco Glaviano Eva Herzigova, St. Barth 1993
Marco Glaviano Jon Faddis, New York, 1978
Marco Glaviano Eleonora Abbagnato (St Barth), 2004
Marco Glaviano Dizzie Gillespie, New York, 1978
Marco Glaviano Cindy Crawford (St Barth)
Marco Glaviano B.B. King, New York, 1992