REPORTAGE: Giovanni Gastel "The People I like" by Cristina Morozzi

The exhibition dedicated to the late photographer Giovanni Gastel presents portraits of individuals who have made history, a testament to the encounters that have marked his extraordinary career.

Triennale Design Museum in Milan is hosting an exhibition (until May 13th) that is a tribute to photographer Giovanni Gastel, a remarkable photographer who passed away in April 2021. The exhibition, entitled “The People I Like”, was organized in collaboration with the MAXXI national museum in Rome and was curated by Uberto Frigerio with layout by Piero Lissoni Associati. On display are over 200 portraits that are a testament to the many individuals Gastell met over his career and his unique ability to interpret the personalities of his subjects. 

The exhibition includes portraits of individuals from the world of culture, fashion, design, art, music, entertainment and who have made their mark on history. All the portraits are in a large 130x90 format, and most are in black and white.  In Germano Celant’s volume – published by Silvana Editoriale for the 2016 exhibition “Giovanni Gastel: Quaranta anni di Storia e di immagini” (Giovanni Gastel: Forty Years of History and Images) which he curated in Milan at Palazzo della Ragione with layout by Piero Lissoni – Celant presents various thoughts on creativity and representation.

“Creativity needs a point of view and this point of view must be yours...Creative work consists of seeing everything from a different position…At each stage of my career I’ve always improved a bit...I always had the feeling that at each small step of my professional career, I was improving, even slightly. 

…You have to know techniques so well that you can forget about them....A painter never thinks about the brush in his hand. If I think about my photographs, I don't feel my camera. I don’t think of the camera, which is like an eye... I know that it’s the viewpoint I want”.

In Gastell’s last interview with Giovanna Calvenzi, well-known photo editor and lecturer on the history of photography at Catholic University, he said, “I don’t take photographs. I interpret”. The secret of his portraits are ingrained in this affirmation.

Cristina Morozzi