Museum Visitors as Works of Art: Professor Paolo Soriani’s New Photo Project

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Prof. Paolo Soriani's photo project "I volti del Mann"
After a record year, the Archaeological Museum of Naples (MANN) decided to celebrate by honoring its many visitors from all over the world.  JCU photography professor Paolo Soriani was asked to do a series of portraits of museum visitors as they admire the works of art in what is considered to be one of the world’s most important archaeological museums. The end result is the photo project “I volti del MANN” (The Faces of MANN), which was included in the museum’s annual report and also became a video.

Over a period of four days, Prof. Soriani talked to over one hundred museum visitors and photographed them in order to capture their emotions as they interacted with the statues. He used no special effects, only the natural light of the museum.

A portrait by Prof. Paolo Soriani

One of Professor Soriani’s portraits

“The beauty of the statues is also the beauty of the visitors’ faces, which show an incredible intensity and strength,” says Prof. Soriani. “The untouched beauty of these faces makes them classical, the exact opposite of the photoshopped selfies that characterize our times. What we aimed to do is create a dialogue between works of art and people that cancels differences and distances.”

Professor Soriani, who has been teaching at JCU since 2006, is well known for his architectural photos and jazz portraits. He has published with ECM (Germany), CAM records, Label Bleu (France), Venus Records (Japan), CNI, Warner (USA) and in 2011 he became the official photographer for the Jazz label Jando Records/VVJ. He has curated the art direction of visuals, websites, and records for many Italian musicians such as Pilar, Stefano Bollani, Maria Pia de Vito, Area, and Bungaro among others.

He has exhibited his work at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, at the Visual Arts Project of the International festival “Time in Jazz,” directed by Paolo Fresu, and at the International Festival for Photography in Rome.

In Fall 2018, Professor Soriani will be teaching AS 105 Introduction to Photography, AS 289 Digital Photography and EXP 1006 Travel Photography.

Watch the video “I volti del Mann”