Settimio Benedusi, photography does some soul searching

Short story of a photographer who chose the path of truth

Settimio Benedusi, photography does some soul searching

If he had lived a century ago, today we would define him as a Dadaist. But Settimio Benedusi, an explosive photographer, is something else: he is a sincere person by profession. He doesn’t like to flash titles which are - in his opinion - undeserved, and he has no problems calling into question the very photography that is his primary trade.

In fact, Benedusi has worked for glossy magazines like Sport Illustrated (the only Italian to participate 7 years in a row in the international edition), Panorama and Vogue. However, in spite of having gained fame of undisputed quality, he has remained a keen investigator who does not shy away from scrutinizing his medium, even at the cost of highlighting its limits and problems.

In 2014, with the Amore Rivelato (Love Revealed) operation, he sent his barber to take photographs blindfolded and he obtained one of them to publish precisely in Vogue Italia. The inherent question in Benedusi’s work is clear: does photography really need a photographer to communicate? And if it is a photographer saying it, then it means calling into question his own reason for existing.

Eclectic and borderline, Settimio does not hesitate to dive into new initiatives, often of a situationist character, in which playing with the unforeseen becomes an opportunity to create new ways of communicating. And to do so, he uses more than just photography: In fact, he is one of the first photographers to have a site: from 2003, he has kept a personal blog, where he records thoughts, observations and even rants, in which his frankness and his straightforwardness come out.

Born in Imperia, but in Milan for more than twenty years, in 2016 Benedusi put his passion to even more of a test in an original way. The idea of walking the distance between two cities, at first purely symbolic, became the chance to answer a question that plagued him: does the photographer still have any value? The answer is yes: in fact, on his ten-day walk, he finds solace among the families he meets, bartering for room and board with what he knows best: portraits.

In fact, Settimio’s greatest love is the faces: well-known and less well-known, young or streaked with the wrinkles of the emotions they have experienced, good-natured or stubborn looks... Benedusi portrays anyone who agrees to offer him the naked vulnerability of their face. His respect for each subject leads him to drawing out their personality with discretion and tact: because Settimio places his art at the service of a collective story where humanity can tell about itself and, through this tale, learn to discover itself as if in a mirror.
Settimio Benedusi, photography does some soul searching