Ferdinando Scianna

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Marpessa en Dolce & Gabbana, Villa Palagonia, Bagheria, Italie, 1987 © Courtesy of the artist and Maison Européenne de la Photographie
Quick Facts
Birth year

(Biography courtesy of Magnum Photos)

Ferdinando Scianna started taking photographs in the 1960s while studying literature, philosophy and art history at the University of Palermo. It was then that he began to photograph the Sicilian people systematically. Feste Religiose in Sicilia (1965) included an essay by the Sicilian writer Leonardo Sciascia, and it was the first of many collaborations with famous writers.

Scianna moved to Milan in 1966. The following year he started working for the weekly magazine L'Europeo, first as a photographer, then from 1973 as a journalist. He also wrote on politics for Le Monde Diplomatique and on literature and photography for La Quinzaine Littéraire.

In 1977 he published Les Siciliens in France and La Villa Dei Mostri in Italy. During this period Scianna met Henri Cartier-Bresson, and in 1982 he joined Magnum Photos. He entered the field of fashion photography in the late 1980s. At the end of the decade he published a retrospective, Le Forme del Caos (1989).

Scianna returned to exploring the meaning of religious rituals with Viaggio a Lourdes (1995), then two years later he published a collection of images of sleepers - Dormire Forse Sognare (To Sleep, Perchance to Dream). His portraits of the Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges were published in 1999, and in the same year the exhibition Niños del Mundo displayed Scianna's images of children from around the world.

In 2002 Scianna completed Quelli di Bagheria, a book on his home town in Sicily, in which he tries to reconstruct the atmosphere of his youth through writings and photographs of Bagheria and the people who live there.



1966       Prix Nadar (for Feste Religiose in Sicilia), France


2004       Pensar America III - Casa de América, Madrid, Spain
2003       Ferdinando Scianna - Centre Cultural Tecla Sala, Barcelona, Spain
2000       Altre Forme del Caos - Cantieri Culturali alla Zisa, Palermo, Italy


2003        Quelli di Bagheria, Peliti Associati, Italy
2002        Mondo Bambino, L'arte a stampa, Italy
2001        Obiettivo Ambiguo, Rizzoli, Italy
1999        Niños del Mundo, Ayuntamiento De La Coruña, Spain
1999        Jorge Luis Borges, Franco Sciardelli, Italy
1997        Dormire Forse Sognare, Art&, Italy ; (To Sleep Perchance to Dream), Phaidon, UK
1996        Viaggio a Lourdes, Mondadori, Italy
1995        Altrove: Reportage Di Moda, Federico Motta, Italy
1993        Marpessa, Leonardo Arte, Italy
1990        Men and Trucks, Iveco, Italy
1989        Leonardo Sciascia, Franco Sciardelli, Italy
1989        Le Forme del Caos, Art & SRL, Italy
1988        Kami, L'Immagine, Italy
1988        Città del Mondo, Bompiani, Italy
1988        Ore di Spagna (with Leonardo Sciascia), Pungitopo, Spain
1987        L'Instante e La Forma, Ediprint, Italy
1984        Henri Cartier-Bresson: Portraits (with André Pieyre de Mandiargues), Collins, UK
1984        Il Grande Libro della Sicilia, Mandadori, Italy
1983        I Grandi Fotografi : Ferdinando Scianno, Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri, Italy
1977        I Siciliani, Einaudi, Italy; (Les Siciliens), Editions Denoël, France
1965/87   Feste Religiose in Sicilia (with Leonardo Sciascia), Leonardo da Vinci Arte,
               Italy; L'Immagine Editrice, Italy