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From the 25th September to the 13th November | Osart Gallery, Milan

Minor White is one of the masters of twentieth century photography. An extraordinary photographer, he has managed to create a bond between the tradition of the Californian school, based on the representation of a wild and adventurous nature, and the photography of concepts.

“Things for what else they are” - Minor White. Mirrors Messages Manifestations, 1969. This quotation, drawn from the most important monograph ever written about Minor White’s work, expresses best of all the creativity of the great American master. Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, his friends and colleagues, have always looked at the world exalting and representing its grandiose immensity; Minor White always gazed at it, feeling and breathing its majesty, revealing the strong influence impressed on him by the Alfred Stieglitz’ idea of Equivalent or rather, “equivalents to my vision of life”, or “the chaos of the world and his relationship with this chaos”.


Minor White created a highly personal language, with a wealth of poetry, magic and ongoing transformation. His images are not only to be gazed at and studied, most of all they must be felt and interpreted. Each subject he photographed: an encrusted wall (“Moon and Wall Encrustations”), a cascade (“Waterfall”), leaves (“Moencopi Strata”), loses its objective significance and becomes a work of art, transcending reality, rendering the ordinary – extraordinary. Bringing together the larger part of his most famous photos, the works exhibited, all vintage prints, represent the full range of Minor White’s art, sweeping through the universe of his subjects.


The depth and intensity of Minor White’s portrayals reflect his personal history, made up not only of torment and bottomless solitude, but also and above all, of extreme creativeness, spirituality and poetry. It was precisely this basic disquiet, finding rest only in his working moments, which brought to Minor White a life devoted to his art and to the dissemination of photography throughout the world. The artist was not, in fact, content with being ‘only’ a photographer, he was publisher, critic and teacher too. In 1952, together with Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, Barbara Morgan, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall, he founded the magazine “Aperture”, which he directed and published from the year it was born until his death. As a publisher Minor White was able not only to present to the world with the greater part of his own most meaningful works, he succeeded, first of all, in creating ongoing links with the greatest masters in the history of photography, publishing and disseminating the images which today are considered the most significant masterpieces of this art.


Along parallel lines Minor White always considered it fundamental to continue, with heartfelt, personal satisfaction, his teaching activities. He was the first professor of photography at the M.I.T (Massachussets Institute of Technology), which decided to inaugurate this chair especially for him. Thanks to his generosity and total availability towards his students, he succeeded shaping and involving generation after generation, communicating the meaning and the power of his art.


Minor White created extraordinary images, several of them presented in the Exhibition, reaching out to touch the soul of the observer. Michael Hoffman, his pupil at Rochester successor as director of the “Aperture”, writes: “It was his refusal to separate his personal life from his work, or his work from the rest of his existence, that gave him such extraordinary power to change people's lives” - Minor White. Rites & Passages, 1978.

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