Santi Visalli at 90: Una Storia

Born in 1932 and raised in Messina, Sicily, Santa Barbara resident Santi Visalli traveled with a camera for three years across the globe before settling in New York during the late 1950s, aiming to become a successful photographer on the international stage. With an astute eye, tenacious energy, and patient skill, Visalli forged an extraordinary career that saw him photographing countless major world figures and important sites and cities for over five decades.

This exhibition of 29 photographs focuses on a specific area of Visalli’s art: perceptive portraits of well-known figures in the 1960s and 70s worlds of film, literature, art, music, and popular culture. Ranging from the spontaneous and joyous to the posed and quiet, Visalli’s portraits all relate a storia, an Italian word meaning tale, story, and history. Tactful yet honest, Visalli captures his subjects with a respectful distance that nonetheless allows the unique sense of these renowned personalities to emerge on their own terms.

The subject of numerous exhibitions and books, Santi Visalli’s photographs appeared regularly in The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, US News & World Report, Paris Match, Oggi, and Stern, among many others. Santi Visalli is a former president of the Foreign Press Association of New York and a member of the board of the Association of Italian Correspondents in North America. In 1996, he was named a Knight in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic and, in 2011, was awarded a medal for lifetime achievement from the President of the Italian Republic.

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