Guido Argentini was born in Florence, Italy in 1966. He studied medicine for three years at the University of Florence. At 23, he decided to turn his passion for photography into a profession. His work has been published by some of the leading magazines in the world, including Marie Claire, Moda and Vogue. His book, Silvereye, is a favorite among artistic photography lovers.
Guido Argentini is an artistic and fashion photographer. However, these labels don’t even begin to explain the uniqueness of his art. There are literally thousands of photographers who feature artistic nudes and fashion photography, which count as two of Argentini’s specialties. Yet he stands apart from them all. What makes him unique and, even more importantly, what makes his uniqueness significant, suggesting a new trend in artistic photography? In The Critique of Judgment, the philosopher Immanuel Kant elaborated the standards for artistic uniqueness. True art is original, exemplary and inimitable, he wrote. Original, because it stands out from the rest. Exemplary, because it’s worth following. Inimitable, because it stands out despite all imitations. Guido Argentini’s photography meets all of these criteria.
Photography is often said to replace the need for representational painting. This claim, which has some truth to it, has become a cliché. It suggests that of all the visual arts, photography is closest to representing reality as we see it. It also suggests that the visual arts have been compelled by the invention of photography to move towards expressing an inner reality—reality as we imagine it or idealize it–rather than the external reality of visual appearances.
Guido Argentini’s silvery, sculptural photography nuances these assumptions that have become the foundation of modern art. He shows us that photography is not so much about capturing visual reality—its ephemeral, changing, dynamic states—but rather about attempting to immortalize form. His images freeze in time a representative pose and movement.
Photography, Guido’s unique art persuades us, can be as monumental and enduring as sculpture. Not surprisingly, the artist finds inspiration in three of the greatest sculptors of all times: Michelangelo, Rodin and Brancusi. “I try to put into the ‘poverty’ of two dimensional photography the strength of the three dimensional shapes of the marble of Michelangelo and the polished bronze of Brancusi,” he explains.
His focus is not on the face’s expressive powers, but on the expressiveness of the body itself. Sculpture, from Hellenistic times to the modernism of Brancusi, has always been about the ways in which the human body, captured statically in a single moment, appears dynamic and timeless.
In Argentini’s Studio Series, photography usurps the timelessness of sculpture. Silvery, shimmery, muscular, exquisite bodies exhibit the elasticity and beauty of the female form. Similarly, in the Nature Series, the sensual nudes blend into the stark immobility of their natural surroundings. Cliff, ocean, grass, stone become one with the female subjects. Rather than being reduced to the natural or biological, however, women are elevated to the status of the monumental. They become as timeless as the rounded, polished stones which echo the curves of their bodies. Argentini’s talent endows photography, the art of the ephemeral and the medium of advertising, with a timelessness and importance that go far beyond what can be seen, consumed, bought or touched.
Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com