The Sassi of Matera past and present

A retrospective survey photographs of the Fondo Viggiano

Roberto Nadalin

Augusto Viggiano’s career trajectory began relatively late. Born 2 March 1938 in Santa Maria Capua Vetere
(Caserta), he was initially employed for years as Head Librarian in the Biblioteca Provinciale of Matera, where he had moved with his family when he was still a child. Eventually, he quit that job to devote himself to professional photography, his one and only passion. Drawing on personal experience and a wide cultural background, his photography equally reflects both aspects, revealing a rare capacity for critical analysis, as is evident from both his panoramic and zoomedin shots. In a quest for greater artistic freedom, he self-published much of his work, alternately centred on black-and-white and colour images, and among his projects were also some initiatives commissioned by local authorities in the Emilia Romagna region.

Viggiano’s ‘documentary’ photography has acquired a great historical signifi cance over the years, in its ability to provide illuminating glimpses into obscure, forgotten places, ancient rites and practices, lost or irredeemably altered as a result of time passing by.

Augusto Viggiano passed away on 1 September 2020.

«I spent a whole lifetime photographing the Sassi. Then I stopped because of that malady called old age. But I’ve loved Photography more than anything else in the world.»

Interview with Augusto Viggiano (Matera, 13 July 2019)

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