It’s difficult to think of a location more heavily influenced by outside culture than New York City. As the historical immigrant entry point to America, our art, architecture, style, cuisine and identity as a whole has been shaped by the huddled masses that now call this city home. And this month, a captivating new photography exhibit explores how one culture in particular has molded this melting pot of a city.
ITALIANY spotlights the experiences of Italians in America through a series of portraits captured by Italian fine art and fashion photographer Alexo Wandael. Running this month at New York University’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, the photographs tell the stories of talented Italians, including Jennifer Missoni, Francesco Carrozzini and Grazia D’Annunzio, among others.
“The project is a tribute to all those Italians who left their families, their comforts, their mamma, their casa and their pasta,” Wandael says. “ITALIANY honors the courage, sacrifice and achievements of so many Italians in America.”
For this project, Wandael didn’t just want to solely focus on fashion, a genre in which he is already well versed. Instead, he wanted each portrait to tell a story about the subject’s experience in America. To give each photograph this depth, he worked with the individual to choose a place in New York that holds a special significance for them, then he captured the way they present themselves in their favorite location. “We all have individual reasons to be proud of our identity,” Wandael explains. “Thus each portrait is a collaboration rather than a simple photograph.”
The exhibit is the first event for Storie di Stile, a two-year campaign by Italian beer brand Peroni Nastro Azzuro to develop partnerships that highlight the Italian impact on American culture. “ITALIANY is a deserved tribute to my beautiful country that forged such incredibly talented individuals,” says Wandael.