Paolo Ventura

Italian, 1968–present

Leaving behind fashion photography at the end of 1990s, Ventura delved into his own project, building and photographing dioramas about World War II in Italy.

Ventura invented mysterious narratives in the intersection of memory from his childhood and fantasy. The recurring themes hover around death, vanishing, identity and displacement with a palpable melancholy and ambiguity afar the reality that photography conventionally represents.

Ventura’s affinity for details and inventiveness creates elaborated scenes consisting of found objects, figurines, wood and cardboard, that he then transforms in its perfection before photographing them, as if they were alive in life-size, with a dreamy atmosphere of an Italian city, as seen in The Automaton (2010), among others. Without using any digital device during the entire process, Ventura’s evocative landscape and characters are handcrafted narrations in their wholeness.