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Today, YellowKorner is delighted to present a renowned artist who has generated discussion for many years, owing to the high quality, political commitment, and beauty of his photographs: Oliviero Toscani.. He does not seek to hide what we do not wish to see: he censors nothing. On the contrary, he provokes. Oliviero Toscani is interested in the plights of our age and his images tackle the taboos and controversies of current events head on. The Italian photographer offers art photographs that celebrate diversity and love, with unique and striking stagings.
“Those who do not shock are not true artists.”

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For you, what have been the most striking moments of your career so far?
Oliviero Toscani: "I have had a lot of recognition for my work. I am very privileged and I have no qualms in saying that I’ve been lucky. I have also been heavily criticised. When I worked on campaigns against AIDS or racism, for instance. People even insulted me. Sometimes I doubted myself; I told myself I was overdoing it. I eventually put things into perspective, because when you’re fighting for what you believe in, you’re eventually proven right. I followed my instinct. I have no regrets.”

What projects do you have coming up?
Oliviero Toscani: “To keep doing what I’m doing; to strive to be interesting, since photography must be the witness of its times. I’m currently working on very complicated and problematic subjects by trying to read between the lines and by working on human integration.”

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Oliviero Toscani: "In the late 1960s I went to the Factory, the artists’ studio in New York that Andy Warhol had opened, to do a reportage on American artists and that was how we became friends. We shared a few meals at a restaurant, he was very funny and always asked why we only ate panettone at Christmas time because that dish is so good. So I brought him some each time I went to New York. In Italy, people looked at me sideways when I asked for panettone in June-July because it’s only for Christmas, but he asked me for it all year round.”

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Delving into the religious repertoire, the photograph Toscani 1 opposes the carnal and profane kiss to the sacred vows pronounced by men and women entering the religion. Contrary to the precept of religious celibacy, the image incites us to surpass the barriers of tradition, thus touching on the fundamental values of the Catholic faith.
This inevitably offends a portion of public opinion. In Italy, under the pressures of the Pope and the Vatican, the Italian authorities eventually prohibited the publication of the image. In France, the Bureau de vérification de la publicité (BVP) requested the removal of posters, following numerous complaints from religious associations.

For Oliviero Toscani, this photograph is the symbol of his artistic vision and his struggle against censorship and all forms of discrimination.

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Oliviero Toscani has garnered numerous awards over the course of his artistic career. He notably received in 1992 the Prix de la Photographie Appliquée, four Golden Lions at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and the UNESCO Grand Prix.

In 2007, he was hailed as a “Hero of creation” during the Clio Hero Show by Saatchi & Saatchi. His images have appeared in illustrious international magazines (Elle, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue). His work has been shown at the Venice Biennale, the Triennale di Milano, and the modern art museums of Mexico City, Helsinki, Rome, Lausanne, Frankfurt, and Sao Paolo.

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