Arturo Zavattini, born in 1930, is known for his work as a photographer, cameraman and cameraman. His father Cesare Zavattini was a longtime collaborator of Federico Fellini and Vittorio De Sica, and Arturo practically grew up on the film set. He worked as an assistant and cameraman on famous Italian films such as “Il bidone”, “La dolce vita” and “Divorce Italian Style”. He also worked as an ethnographic photographer and accompanied the anthropologist Ernesto de Martino on his famous expedition to Lucania in 1952.
As a teenager in Rome in the post-war years, Zavattini was influenced by the neorealist movement and that influence remained present throughout the decades of his career. His pictures, taken in Rome, Naples and other Italian cities and districts, documented social life on the street, especially the miserable conditions in which the children had to live.
Despite having earned a reputation for documenting the socio-economic struggles of his own country, Zavattini left Italy to explore distant places. In 1956 he traveled to Bangkok, Phetchaburi and northern Thailand, where he reported journalistically on the shooting of the film “The Sea Wall” by French director René Clément. He captured rare pictures of life in Thailand during this time.
In 1960 he traveled to Cuba, where he met Ernesto “Che” Guevara by chance and took iconic photos of the revolutionary. The meeting took place immediately after the revolution, when Zavattini was working as a cameraman on Tomás Gutierréz Alea’s “Historias de la revolución” (Stories of the Revolution). Gutiérrez studied film at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome in the early 1950s. Like Zavattini, he was influenced by Italian neorealism and made his first films in Rome.
In recent years, Zavattini has been organizing and archiving images for a lifetime, many of which were exhibited at the Museo Nazionale Arti & Tradizioni Popolari in Rome in 2016.
To see his work on the set of “Che”, Click here.
For more pictures with text in Italian, Click here.