Maurizio Galimberti

Burgan Kuwait Guerra del Golfo multiplo, 2021
Johnny Depp, 2003
Il Cenacolo di Leonardo da Vinci (detail), 2018

Maurizio Galimberti (born 1956 in Como, Italy) grew up in Meda and now lives and works in Milan. He is considered the greatest exponent of Italian instant photography and was appointed Fuji Italy’s official Instant Artist.

Until he was 35, Galimberti worked as a surveyor on his adoptive father’s construction sites. Abandoned by his biological parents after birth, he grew up with Eleonora and Giogio Galimberti, whom he considers his real parents. Before that, he had spent several years in a children’s home. The cruel teaching methods employed by the nuns, who repeatedly locked him in dark rooms as a form of punishment, left him with an abiding fear of the dark.

Even as a child, he was enthusiastic about photography and took part in photo competitions. In 1974, he made his debut with a Widelux camera with a pivoting lens.

From 1983, Galimberti turned exclusively to Polaroid photography, originally because of his reluctance to spend time in a darkroom resulting from his childhood trauma. At the same time, he became interested in art history and realized that the two were closely connected. The historical avant-garde thus became his radical and constant focus.

Galimberti developed his own technique to create photographic mosaics. The first experiment dates from 1989, when he made a portrait of his son Giorgio. He also used his mosaic techniques to create portraits of celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Robert de Niro and Jonny Depp, whose picture graced the cover of the The Sunday Times Magazine in 2003. To produce these portraits, Galimberti holds the instant camera close to the celebrities’ faces as if he were taking an X-ray image. He then he shoots several photos with small variations until a mosaic of images each measuring 7 by 10 centimeters is created. The “mosaic” soon became a technique for portraying not only faces but also landscapes, architecture and cities. To do this, he “reinterprets and reinvents” famous works, such as The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.

Galimberti also refers to his technique as “a grappolo” (clusters) or “ad ali di farfalla” (butterfly wings), describing it as follows: “They are mosaics that are somewhere between the Futurism of Umberto Boccioni and the kinetic-dynamic movement of Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. I work with the spirit of the “biting mosquito” that Henri Cartier-Bresson loved so much. I observe subjects through their immobility. I make a point of capturing inner stillness rather than mere expression”.[1]

In 1991, Galimberti began his collaboration with Polaroid Italia, becoming their official celebrity endorser with the creation of POLAROID PRO ART, published in 1995. He was appointed Instant Artist and is the creator of the Polaroid Collection Italiana. In 1992, he received the prestigious Grand Prix Kodak Advertising Italy. In 1999, the Italian magazine “Class” declared him Italy’s best portrait photographer.

[1] (Status: 22 November 2022)