di Gianni Cipriano
Six unconventional beauty contests, in which different categories of women compete with each other, looking for perfect imperfection. At least if perfection means standardized beauty, the cult of the beautiful body built on TV, in advertising, among the influencers of social networks, mass-produced for mass consumption.
Especially in Italy, where beauty and body have become so powerful in popular culture that, in the never-ending Berlusconian era, they have become an instrument of consensus. With the aim of creating mass flattery around a specific idea of humanity - beauty is accompanied by wealth and an abundance of power - so as to even arouse a mass emulation, naturally destined to failure. As the unprecedented wave of casting and beauty contests for girls and women of all ages. From Miss Italia to the showgirls up to the reality show: self-exhibition is the maximum aspiration of homo berlusonianus (which is nothing more than contemporary hominid, who lives through hedonism and consumption or by aspiring to grab them).
Gianni Cipriano's political and social critique undermines the basis of this cultural architecture. Showing the idea of the beauty of the excluded, each characterized by a dominant color: Miss Chubby - pink; Miss Trans - purple; Miss Mediterranea - yellow; Miss Plastic Surgery - fuchsia; Miss Drag Queen- orange; Miss Over- blue.
Proud, strutting, self-confident - whether for fun or conviction we don't know and don't need to know - Cipriano's antimodels are a sneer at veiled hedonism, but also a hymn for freedom, because the ideal of perfect beauty is this that each of us can find every morning in front of the mirror, rather than in the poisons of mass culture.
Gianni Cipriano (b. 1983) is a Sicilian-born independent photographer based between New York and Napoli, Italy, focuses on contemporary social, political and economic issues.
He regularly works for The New York Times and has been documenting the ongoing upheaval in Italian politics for L’Espresso weekly magazine since 2013. His editorial work has also appeared in Time, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde Magazine, The Guardian Weekend Magazine, IL, among others.
The oldest of two children in a family of immigrants, Gianni grew up between Brooklyn, Geneva and Palermo. After studying aerospace engineering and architecture, he graduated from the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program at the International Center of Photography in New York in 2008 and interned with photojournalists Ron Haviv (VII) and Christopher Anderson (Magnum Photos). In 2008, Getty Images selected him as one of its “Emerging Talents” of Reportage. He was also selected for the XXI 2008 Eddie Adams Workshop in New York. Between 2009 and 2012 Gianni has been part of Reflexions Masterclass, an international seminar on contemporary photography conducted by Giorgia Fiorio and Gabriel Bauret. He has also been nominated to participate in the Joop Swart World Press Photo Masterclass.
Gianni’s work has been showcased in group exhibitions in venues such as di Fotografia di Lima (Perù), the Rencontres d’Arles, Lima Biennale of Photography, at Vittoriano in Rome, MAXXI of Rome.