From the research on Gli Esclusi in the mid-1960s (1965-67) — the first real document on the silent condition of the mentally ill — to photojournalistic services for the main European newspapers: Luciano D'Alessandro is one of the greatest Italian interpreters of reportage, a radical observer of marginality and forms of confinement, of collective utopias and their dissolution. Naples, Cuba, the Soviet Union, the Mauthausen concentration camp, the French colonies and Tunisia. And then again Capri, Lucania and the south, indeed the “many souths of the world”: a political and social investigation, but above all a cultural one; the attempt to build a civil conscience through the frankness of the images to bring among the people pride and dignity of being reborn after every oppression (by bosses and institutions) and after every ruin (from the 1973 cholera to the bloody earthquake of Irpinia of 1980).
This volume, now five years after the death of the Neapolitan photographer, testifies to his stubborn militancy, retracing some of his main investigations alongside illustrious friends and colleagues such as Gianni Berengo Gardin, Lisetta Carmi, Mario Dondero, Paola Mattioli. Images capable of restoring the full awareness of an author and an intellectual who, like few others, has been able to go through half a century of photography without rhetoric but with the courage and obstinacy of the journalist, the observer, the last idealist.
The long career of Luciano D'Alessandro (Naples, 1933-2016) is linked to reportage and journalistic investigation. In 1952 he began to produce photographic services for the main national and international newspapers: L’Espresso, Time, Life, Stern, L’Europeo, Corriere della Sera, Daily Telegraph, Die Zeit, Le Monde, l'Unità, Il Mattino. In 1965 he met psychiatrist Sergio Piro and began photographing in the Materdomini mental institution in Nocera Superiore; in 1969 he published his first fundamental book, Gli Esclusi, subject of numerous controversies. He dedicated most of his reports to Naples and southern Italy: in 1973 he made a dramatic reportage from his city invaded by the cholera epidemic; with Berengo Gardin he worked on two volumes - Dentro le case (1977) and Dentro il lavoro (1979) - on Italy's social, occupational and cultural reality. In 1980 he documented, for Il Mattino, the shocking experience of the earthquake in Irpinia. This will be his last reportage, before devoting himself completely to the production of photographic books and exhibitions between France and Italy.