Encounters. Enrico Sarsini: the photography between history and stories . Part I

alain delon enrico sarsini

I am in front of Enrico Sarsini, a great photojournalist , who lived, and captured the most important events of history (the one with a capital S) for the last 60 years.

I have the unique opportunity to listen to stories and events from a man who experienced them firsthand, but such is the affection for Enrico Sarsini and spontaneity that I cannot realize it, and lose myself in a pleasant chat .

I look at his picture hanging on the walls , easy to read for a careless and superficial viewer, but deep, able to tell stories and evoke emotions, if only we stop in front of them abandoning  ourselves to their poetry. Enrico’s great talent, and is certainly not up to me to say that, is the ability to quickly grasp the moment , being able to capture a story in a shot.

When he was 20 he picked up the camera for the first time, taking pictures  along a lake in Latium with a friend. Later, thanks to his teacher Paolo Di Paolo , Enrico acquired the necessary knowledge to be able to work in the world of photography, which fascinated and captured him .

Working with “L’Espresso” and ” Il Mondo” first, during the years of the Dolce Vita , like paparazzi chasing stars and starlets , he tells me he worked with Tazio Secchiaroli , famous paparazzo, but Enrico soon realized that kind of work was not his favourite .

He realized, for “L’Espresso” , the report “Africa in Italy ” title as timely as ever , and also gave life to a newsreel entitled “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”.

Since 1962, he moved to America where his enormous talent was immediately appreciated, and where he worked with the prestigious “Life” magazine until 1972.

During this American interlude, working for “Life”, he met the love of his life, the sweet lady Nadine Liber – Piussesseau , with whom he formed, in work and in life, a winning and indissoluble pair .

He tells me of his experiences in Vietnam , India , China, countries where he entered undercover with false identity , because in those years foreign journalists were obviously not well received by the regimes , not at all interested in letting know their realities abroad .

Enrico as a photojournalist , and Nadine as a journalist , travelled the world far and wide, to realize a TV series entitled “All cities are mortal“ , with reportages from Tangier , Istanbul , Jerusalem and Helsinki .

Alternating France to Russia as their residence. Enrico produced, in the years of the Cold War, the French ” L’Equipe ” reportages about the sports in countries like China, Russia and Cuba. For the American television ABC he packed a special on the Olympics in Russia, special , due to the American boycott , that never went on the air.

He worked as a freelance with the most famous fashion magazines and not : “Elle”, “Marie Claire”, “Vogue”, “Le Figaro”, “Capital” as correspondents from Russia , until their retirement in Todi , but this is another story …

by Benedetta Tintillini

Read the article in Italian

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