Maria Vittoria Backhaus

CONFERENZA OPERAIA DEL PARTITO COMUNISTA ITALIANO 28 FEBBRAIO 1970

The photograph shows a large working-class audience with rapt expression during the Fifth National Conference of the Italian Communist Party on February 28, 1970 at the Palazzetto dello Sport in Milan. It is an intense collective moment of sharing and emotional involvement in the presence of Enrico Berlinguer, the head of the Italian Communist Party at the time of the so called ‘hot autumn’, a time of demand for social and democratic renewal of the country. The author is Maria Vittoria Backhaus, an eclectic and surprising name in the panorama of photography in our country. Born in 1942, after studying scenography at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, Backhaus embraced photography as a field of observation, reading and interpretation of society in transformation. Her career began in the 1960s in the field of black-and-white reportage for the press. Her photographic look immediately proved to be original, able to anticipate times and trends with authorial certainty. In addition to reportage photographs, her archive includes an immense production in other photographic genres, such as fashion and design, as proof of her multifaceted talent.

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