The Federico Garolla Archive: Capturing the Dolce Vita years through photography

Bridgeman Images is delighted to present the AGIP and Farabola collections in a new collaboration with the Federico Garolla Archive.

In the revival years after the Second World War, photography made the moments and people of history indelible. Shots that immortalised instants, emotions and cultural ferment are testimonies of vital importance, not only for nostalgics but for those who didn’t experience this historic post-war period firsthand.


Madonna di Campiglio, August 1951. Girls play snowballs on the glacier. / Photo © Federico Garolla / Bridgeman Images


Federico Garolla 

Federico Garolla (Naples, 1925 - Milano, 2012) was little more than 20 years old when Arrigo Benedetti called him to Milan to continue his fledgling career as a journalist that began in his hometown of Naples.

The move to the Lombard capital marked his journey towards photojournalism. He produced hundreds of articles for prestigious Italian newspapers, namely L’Europeo, Tempo Illustrato, L’Illustrazione Italiana, Oggi, and foreign publications such as the Paris Match, National Geographic, Colliers, and Die Stern.


Milan, 1953. Political elections, child distributing electoral newspapers and flyers in Piazza del Duomo. A manifesto accuses communism. / Photo © Federico Garolla / Bridgeman Images


In the 1950s he worked for Le Ore magazine alongside Federico Patellani, Giancolombo, Paolo Costa, and Franco Fedeli. The publication was better known as an erotic magazine that until 1967 had columns dedicated to contemporary cinematography and culture.


Capri, April 1952. Ornella Vanoni and Neapolitan tailor Livio De Simone sitting at the coffee table 'Vuotto in the square / Photo © Federico Garolla / Bridgeman Images


As an epic poet of images, Garolla depicted the unforgettable birth of Italian high fashion and its protagonists such as the young stylists and models that conquered the international scene. Simultaneously, he also aided the arrival of a vibrant cultural life in the post-war period. He depicted artists, writers, musicians, actors and actresses of cinema and theatre, but also ordinary people on the streets of the city. 


Rome, 1953. Fontana sisters in the Atelier in the Spanish Steps / Photo © Federico Garolla / Photo © Federico Garolla / Bridgeman Images
Fashionable. Rome, 1952. Zoe Fontana, the eldest of the sisters Fontana, in her atelier as she studies and establishes the length of the skirt worn by a model. Zoe was a bare enemy of short skirts. PICTURE OF A SEQUENCE / Photo © Federico Garolla / Photo © Federico Garolla / Bridgeman Images


In 1956 he founded the Foto Italia dell’Agenzia Italia, becoming its first director. In the ‘60s he opened an advertising agency with which he created campaigns for companies such as Cirio, Locatelli and Spigadoro

In 1976 he began to work with Rai as a director of a few columns for the news network. He produced high-quality reports dedicated to cultural Italian sites such as museums, areas of archeological monuments and landscapes, and food and wine tourism. These reports were subsequently published by Mondadori, Rizzoli, Domus, De Agostini and other publishers.

Born out of this experience, Garolla founded a small publishing house in the 1980s with the writer Mario Monti, to publish guides dedicated to Italian museums which drew on his store of images collected over the years.

Photojournalism remains at the base of Federico Garolla’s work.


Milan, May 1950. A grandmother accompanies three girls to the Caravaggio Exhibition at Palazzo Reale. / Photo © Federico Garolla / Bridgeman Images


From the ‘30s onwards many protagonists stood in the middle of society but behind the camera, immortalising the Second World War and the economic and cultural boom of the 1950s. 

Here are a few of our photographers and sources:

Tony Vaccaro, artistic name of Michelantonio Celestino Onofrio Vaccaro, was an American photographer noted for his journalism in Europe from 1944-1945 and in post-war Germany. Eventually he worked with big American publications such as Time, Life, Look, Flair, and Sports Illustrated, becoming a celebrated fashion and lifestyle photographer of the 20th century. 




Tony and Marie, the fashion editor of Good Housekeeping Magazine, New York, 1960s (b/w photo) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images


Giovanni Coruzzi, photographer of the big American and European jazz sets, had the chance to photograph numerous entrepreneurs, directors, actors and actresses, rockstars and big exponents of art and culture between the 1950s and 1980s. 


Hugh Hefner with Barbi Benton and Roman Polanski arriving in Paris, 21 August 1970 (photo) / Bridgeman Images


Today the Agip archive is one of the main French foundations of photography that documents Parisian high society and life of the 21st century, and international celebrities of cinema, fashion, art, entertainment, politics, to name a few.



Yves Saint Laurent Drawing on Blackboard Models, November 16, 1957 (photo) / Photo © AGIP / Bridgeman Images


Last but not least, Archivio Farabola the famous Farabola Archive, created to give a voice to 20th century pioneers of photography and photojournalism. Founded in Milan in 1911 by Guiseppe Farabola, it was eventually developed during the Second World War by his son Tullio, one of the most notable photojournalists of the time. 



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