I’ve got the arduous task of synthetizing in a few words the essence of this multi-faceted personality.
Andrea Barghi is a true artist, nearer to the renaissance model of ‘craftsman’ as this reflects the simplicity of soul and the humility that mark him, much more than the modern term ‘pseudointellectual’, from whose narcissism and hedonism he emerges totally.
Although I have known him for many years, he continues to amaze me for the flow of energy and vitality which animate him and which lead to his pressing need to communicate his sensations through the visions he sees which he then expresses in so many touching images.
His own words will help you to understand his art :
“I only photograph what makes my heart beat”
Andrea Barghi was born in Tuscany on 10th April, 1953.
His first encounter with photography occurred paradoxically in a casual way. A childhood friend presented him with a Zenith-E as a gift for his wedding, and he started to photograph Nature. After several years, the passion for photography absorbed him so much that he was induced to make a drastic and brave decision – to leave a ‘safe’ job, having only the knowledge of his own ability and the burning desire to give flow to the inexhaustible creativity which animates him. His first images were diffused by the photographic agency Panda Photo in Rome and specialized in Nature and reportages. He is still collaborating with this agency.
He came to know Casentino and the marvellous nature of the National Park of the Casentino Forests (with this Association many projects were to follow) and entered into perfect symbiosis not only with its waterways, its woods, and animals but also with its history, its spirituality and art which permeate these areas of Tuscany and Romagna, creating images of evocative beauty.
His encounter with the monastic community of Camaldoli, in the heart of the Park, was decisive. In this place of tranquillity and silence he deepened his friendship (one of the most significant and lasting of his life) with a monk – Dom Salvatore Frigerio, with whom he carried out several publishing projects.
In 1990 he moved with his family to Casentino.
His photos are published in many Italian magazines, for example: ‘Airone’, ‘Oasis’, ‘Natura oggi’, ‘Specchio della stampa’, ‘I viaggi di Repubblica’, ‘Fotografia Reflex’.
He met the Florentine painter, Silvestro Pistoleri, and the affinity that joins them has helped in the fulfilment of common projects (for example, the book published by Banca Toscana ‘Vallombrosa, santo e meraviglioso luogo’: and the portrait in the Vatican of Pope Giovanni Paolo II.)
In the following years he completed many reportages in Europe. Literally enraptured by the surreal atmosphere of the National Parks in the Far North, he defines the Scandinavian Peninsula as his ideal setting.
During these years, new books were published ‘Foreste Casentinesi’, Ed. Dream; ‘Come uno scrigno’, Ed. La Verna; ‘L’Umbria degli Alberi’ in collaboration with Legambiente and Regione Umbria; ‘Linfa Vitale’, Ed. Pazzini – a collection of his own poems; new audiovisual and video CD: ‘La videoenciclopedia di Piero Angela’, Ed. Armando Curcio; ‘L’Atlante della Natura Italiana’ and ‘Il falco, il cervo e il lupo’ Ed. Parsec, plus musical CD with his photos ‘Ennio Morricone: la musica e il cinema’, ‘Suono Libero’ and ‘Ottavino Venti’ of the flautist Roberto Fabbriciani. He has presented shows in Italy and abroad (significative is the one in the centre ‘Indira Ghandi’ of New Delhi).
From 1995 he has signed the covers of the international magazine ‘Sherwood’. In 1996 the Tuscan artist decided to explore the world of the portrait and, in particular, the female universe and its essence. He created a photographic studio in a farmhouse near his home, in the wood renamed ‘Elfland’ by him and in this ‘world apart’ the calendar ‘Dutchka’ was born with the sponsorization of Agfa Films.
In 1999 the advertising agency Brunazzi&Associati in Turin launched the brochure ‘Nature as Communication’ for Burgo paper mills, using his images (size 6x17) of the Scandinavian Peninsula.
In 2000 he was entrusted with the compilation of the brochure ‘L’Appennino Romagnolo visto da Andrea Barghi’, in collaboration with four others and also with the Regione Emilia-Romagna and began to collaborate , together with the creative contribution of the agency Alta of Florence, in the launching of the image and communication of the Province of Arezzo.
In 2001 the photographer felt the need to have an agent to help him; an action line which, by common consent, would be to coordinate the contacts in Italy and to develop those abroad. In this way some collaborations like the one with the multinational La Maison de l’Eau of the French Stylist Pierre Cardin and the one with Clementoni, a leader company in production of educational games, were born. Some contracts with international photographic agencies – for example the German Zefa – have been finalized and his photos and articles are now published in German magazines.
In 2002 the project ‘Lights and Silences’ a journey into the nature and spirituality of Tuscany, took shape in a video-CD (Ed. Pegasus) in which for the first time and with the satisfaction of both, he worked with his son, Nicola, musician and composer, who wrote the music for it.
On November 2002 he started the collaboration with the Lido of Venice for a series of projections of images taken up the creation of a not only scientific but especially emotional approach to Nature to the audience and addressed both to the schools and the public.
On December 2002 was printed his new book “Andrea Barghi – Photographer of Emotions”, a fundamental book to perceive his particular and “emotional” creativity and in which the author want to document his evolution as man and as artist throught his most charming images: his travels, spiritual paths among human landscapes, cultures, ethnic groups and always new and fascinating worlds, have led him, over the last quarter of a century, to produce about eighty thousand images; from this the idea to fix the works that have characterized him in the course of the years in a photographic book told by the author and some of his most authorative “ fellows traveller”, develops.
He is now taken up in different kinds of projects, first of all the one who sees him today engaged with his friend, the writer Maurizio Grasso, in the preparation of their book about The Beatles.
This, as a tribute to the geniality and humanity of the Fab Four who, with their music, have enlightened the authors along the course of their lives.