Romano Cagnoni

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Cagnoni in his studio in Pietrasanta, 2015

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


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.

He was the first western non-communist photographer to be allowed North of Vietnam with the British journalist James Cameron. He worked in Cambodia, Nigeria during the civil war, Israel, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Chechnya, Kosovo, with the Soviet Army in Afghanistan in 1980, in Poland (1981), and Argentinian airports during the Falklands War in 1982. He was the first photographer to set up a studio on the front line to photograph soldiers during the fighting in Chechnya in 1995.[citation needed]

In 1968 he won the Overseas Press Club Award,[1] for his Nigerian Civil War reportage published in Life, the German Art Directors' Club bronze medal for documenting with a large format camera the destruction from the war in the former Yugoslavia, and many Italian prizes.[citation needed] He returned to live in Pietrasanta in Italy, from where he travels worldwide for his work.

Cagnoni has held 43 solo exhibitions, 43 group shows and retrospectives worldwide. His 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,[2] mentions Cagnoni as one of the most famous photographers in the world with Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bill Brandt, Don McCullin and Eugene Smith.

In 1970 Cagnoni married the English artist Berenice Sydney, who died in 1983.


Publications by Cagnoni[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.

Publications with contributions by Cagnoni[vague][edit]

  • 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 [3]
  • 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
  • Tee Photographer's vision by Michael Freeman, ed. The ILEX Press Ltd, London 2011 ISBN 978-1-907579-31-8


Cagnoni's work is held in the following collections:

  • 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.


  • 1970: Overseas Press Club Award, USA.[1]
  • 1992: German Art Directors' Club Bronze Medal.
  • 1998: Premio Atri per la Fotografia per la Pace e la Libertà.
  • 2009: Werner Bischof Silver Flute.


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

External links[edit]