Picture Researcher Giovanni Forti shares his top pics and clips from the archive.
What is your role at Bridgeman?
I work as an Account Manager in the International Team. Based in the London office, I deal with all kinds of customers located in Spain, Portugal, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Beside negotiating fees for image reproduction rights and copyright clearances, I also perform picture research on behalf of clients. Furthermore, business development is also one of my responsibilities. Finally, I also respond to queries coming from the distributors representing Bridgeman in the aforementioned territories.
What do you love most about the job?
I really enjoy trying to find good solutions to clients’ needs, especially when a creative and proactive approach is required. That means making an effort to source the right content for specific projects, in particular while working on advertising or packaging. I also deem fee negotiation to be one of the most interesting aspects of my job. Finally, I like the fact that being exposed to both editorial and commercial requests allows me to experience different angles of licensing our portfolio.
What misconceptions do people have about the archive?
I think people are sometimes not fully aware that Bridgeman is much more than fine art images. Furthermore, they often don’t know that our relationship with museums and collections means that we have access to content which is not online on our website.
The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, and the Infant Saint John the Baptist, Leonardo da Vinci
One of the reasons why I like living in London is that I can have a look at The Burlington House Cartoon whenever I want to. Although I have seen it countless times, I still can’t make up my mind about which among the four figures is my favourite in terms of beauty and intensity. I am currently between Saint Anne and John the Baptist, but this might change the next time I’ll be standing in front of this masterpiece. At the end of the day, perhaps I should give up this futile exercise and simply enjoy contemplating it…
Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, Umberto Boccioni
Unique Forms of Continuity in Space is one of my favourite sculptures ever. I discovered it during my university years and since then this artwork has always fascinated me for the way it captures the energy within motion. Influenced by Michelangelo and cubism, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space probably represents the best achievement of Boccioni’s theories on plastic dynamism, where the artist develops an idea of time as a synthesis and not a mere sequence of consecutive moments. The majority of the images of this sculpture usually show the side of it, but I wanted to choose a detail of the front as, I think, it helps fully understand the complexity of the composition.
The Last Automat III, Max Ferguson
I met Max Ferguson in January 2007, during an internship at New York Bridgeman office. On that occasion, he gave me a copy of a catalogue on his work, Going, Going, Gone: Paintings of a Vanishing New York. I immediately liked his style. Among the images featured in the catalogue in question, The Last Automat III particularly caught my attention. The vending machine appearing in this painting is something suspended between tradition and modernity, between handmade meals and fast food. I find it a very fascinating object and I think the way the artist emphasises the light on the cake slices contributes to enhance a sort of 'magical' aura.
Destitute Pea Pickers in Nipoma, California
Depicting rural poverty during the Great Depression, the images commissioned by Farm Security Administration definitely mark a turning point in the history of documentary photography. Among the pictures shot by that amazing group of artists, I’ve always particularly loved the now iconic portrait, colloquially known as Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange. The face of the woman portrayed in this photograph expresses a vast variety of feelings. Anxiety, tiredness, stress… but I like to see some hope in her eyes as well. The faces of the kids are not visible, but I think that the fact that they are left to our imagination adds power to this picture instead of making it weaker.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Picture of Clint Eastwood, dir. Sergio Leone
Cinema plays a very relevant role in Bridgeman’s content. Therefore, I thought I definitely had to include in my selection an image connected to the seventh art. Well, when I hear the word “cinema”, one of the first things occurring to my mind are the amazing western movies by Italian director Sergio Leone. In particular, I really like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Leone is believed to have said about Clint Eastwood that “his face has two expressions, one with the cigar and one without it”. I find this quote very hilarious and I always think about it when watching a movie starring Eastwood. By the way, Clint has never smoked and hated the taste of the cigars Leone forced him to smoke on set!