Romano Cagnoni

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Romano Cagnoni (born in Pietrasanta, Italy) is an Italian photographer who spent most of his professional life based in London.


Romano Cagnoni used to photograph sculptures in the small town of Pietrasanta, Tuscany, which is famous for its sculpture studios. In 1958, he moved to London, UK, where he lived for 30 years. Here, he started working as a freelance photographer contributing to different European magazines. He worked with Simon Guttmann (a founder of modern photojournalism with Robert Capa, Felix Mann, Kurt Hutton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, etc.).

He was the first western non-communist photographer to be allowed in North of Vietnam with the distinguished British journalist James Cameron. Cambodia, Nigeria during the civil war, Israel, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Chechnya, Kosovo, were the site of his works about forbidden stories that Cagnoni was able to photograph: amongst them, the Soviet Army in Afghanistan in 1980, and in Poland (1981), Argentinian airports during the Falklands War in 1982. He was the first photographer to set up a studio on the front line to photograph warriors during the fighting in Chechnya in 1995.

In 1968 he won the Overseas Press Club Award, for his Nigerian civil war reportage published in "Life Magazine", the German Art Directors' Club bronze medal for documenting with a large format camera the war destruction in former Yugoslavia, and many Italian prizes. He returned to live in his home town in Italy, from where he travels worldwide for his work.

Cagnoni has held 43 solo exhibitions, 43 group shows and retrospectives worldwide. The last exhibition, at Arengario Palace in Milan, bore the title "Chiaroscuro", which, beyond the literal meaning, hints to "humour and darkness": these photographs show the darkness of war and sometimes the humour of everyday life. Cagnoni feels that these opposites are the essence of his work.

The Sunday Times former editor Harold Evans, in his book Pictures on a Page: Photo-Journalism, Graphics and Picture Editing,[1] mentions Cagnoni as one of the most famous photographers in the world with Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bill Brandt, Don McCullin and Eugene Smith.

Books and catalogues[edit]

  • "Romano Cagnoni", (catalogue) ed. Olivetti, Milan 1975
  • "Romano Cagnoni", (catalogue) ed. Museo Universitario di Scienza e Arte, Mexico City 1976
  • "Cultura e tecnologia nel Sud", ed. Fiat, Turin 1978
  • "Romano Cagnoni a Bologna", ed. Ente Manifestazioni Artistiche, Bologna 1979
  • "Sud come sudore", ed. Priuli & Verlucca, Ivrea 1980
  • "Geometria del dolore", ed. Comune di Roma, Rome 1984
  • "Pietrasanta & Figli", ed. Electa, Milan 1985 ISBN 88-435-1212-9
  • "Italy-Library of Nations", ed. Time-Life, New York / Amsterdam 1986 ISBN 0-7054-0850-7
  • "Caro Marmo", ed. Iveco Fiat, Turin 1987 ISBN 88-7781-027-0
  • "Scultori a Pietrasanta", (catalogue) ed. La Subbia, Pietrasanta 1991
  • "Kan Yasuda scultore", with Kozo Watabiki, ed. Leonardo De Luca, Milan 1991
  • "Il Mondo a Fuoco", ed. Electa, Milan 2000 ISBN 88-435-7663-1
  • "Materia Eterea", sculptures by Kan Yasuda, ed. Comune di Pietrasanta, 2003
  • "ChiaroScuro", ed. Electa, Milan 2004 ISBN 88-370-2332-4
  • "Giacomo Puccini-Luoghi e suggestioni", Fazzi Ed, 2008 ISBN 978-88-7246-918-7
  • "Romano Cagnoni-Racconti Inediti", 2009
  • "La Guerra negli Occhi", Giunti Ed, 2011
  • "Upside Down Memories – Seravezza Fotografia" Bandecchi e Vivaldi Ed, 2012


  • The Penrose Annual, ed. Lund Humphries, London 1970 ISBN 0-85331-253-2
  • The Art of Photography, ed. Time-Life, New York 1971
  • Speciale fotoreportage: Romano Cagnoni, (monograph), Progresso Fotografico, Milan 1976
  • Pictures on a Page, by Harold Evans, ed. Heinemann, London 1978
  • 70 anni di fotografia in Italia, ed. Punto e Virgola, Modena 1978
  • The camera at war, by Jorge Lewinski, ed. W. H. Allen, London 1979 ISBN 0-491-02485-1
  • The Art of Photography, ed. Time-Life, New York 1981 ISBN 0-8094-4170-5
  • Dictionnaire des photographes, by Carole Naggar, ed. Seuil, Paris 1982 ISBN 2-02-006288-7
  • How famous photographers work, London 1983
  • I grandi fotografi: Romano Cagnoni, (monograph) ed. Fabbri, Milan 1983
  • Achieving Photographic Style, ed. Macdonald, London 1984 ISBN 0-356-10419-2
  • The encyclopaedia of practical photography, ed. Macdonald, London 1985 ISBN 0-356-10421-4
  • Storia della fotografia italiana, ed. Laterza, Bari 1986
  • Fotografi Italiani, (catalogue) ed. Edizioni Bolis, Bergamo 1993 ISBN 88-7827-048-2
  • Il tempo dell’immagine, ed. Seat, Turin 1993
  • Una guerra tutte le guerre,(calendar) Sant’Anna slaughter anniversary, Comune di Stazzema (Lucca) 1994
  • Contemporary Photographers, ed. St. James Press, New York 1995 ISBN 0-7148-3848-9 [2]
  • A World History of Photography, ed. Abbeville Press, New York 1997
  • Iter, ed. Treccani, Roma 1998
  • Pagine di fotografia italiana 1900–1998, (catalogue) Fondazione Galleria Gottardo, ed. Charta, Milan 1998 ISBN 88-8158-177-9


  • WMG Limited Mehmet Dalman Collection
  • MasterCard Rome
  • Comune di Carrara, Carrara
  • Comune di Bologna, Bologna
  • Keflex Collection, London
  • John C. De Prez Jr., Indianapolis, USA
  • Paul Arden, London
  • Palazzo Te Museum, Mantua
  • Contemporary Photography Museum, Parma
  • Arden & Anstruther Collection, London


  • USA Overseas Press Award, 1970
  • German Art Directors' Club Bronze Medal, 1992
  • Premio Atri per la Fotografia per la Pace e la Libertà, 1998
  • Werner Bischof Silver Flute, 2009


  1. ^ Harold Evans, Pictures on a Page: Photo-journalism, Graphics and Picture Editing, 1978, Heinemann ISBN 0-434-90553-4
  2. ^ "Contemporary Photographers", ST. James Press, 1995 ISBN 1-55862-190-3

External links[edit]