I love Italian vintage photos so when I realized I’d be in New York City in time for an Italian vintage photo I definitely was interested. Since I was arriving in New York on the last day of the exhibit, I decided to make it happen. I could have gone alone, but my first thought was to see if my friend and fellow italophile from NYC was interested to go.I was thrilled when Gina Richardson responded that she was available and able to meet me at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, the home of the Department of Italian Studies at New York University.
The famous photographer, Hope Herman Wurmfeld, photographed everyday people in 1964 during her first trip to Italy. This exhibit showcases 50 of these vintage black and white photographs.
Upon entering the building which was originally a villa, I found myself alone in a small lobby where I signed a guestbook and noticed black and white photographs on the wall. I walked through to a beautifully landscaped courtyard and felt an immediate sense of peace as the cool breeze made for a comfortable afternoon.
I walked back inside and shortly afterward, Gina arrived. How wonderful to meet my friend again in the city after almost exactly a year since we had first met in person after communicating on social media for a couple of years. The exhibit was free and very low key. No one was around, just a guest book to sign, and we were able to wander on our own and at our own pace through the few corridors where the photos were displayed.
The photographer certainly captured the Italian life in these photos of everyday people. And the monochrome photos made the scenes even more real to me. I especially like this one captured in Palermo of the laundry hanging and the family behind the door.
The men always seem to hang out and probably discuss the issues of the day while the women were nowhere around.
A solitary woman walks among the trulli houses of Alberobello.
This woman was photographed in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome. I bet she has stories to tell.
A nun from Colcullo, Abruzzo
More of Wurmfeld’s photos can be found on her website if you are interested in seeing other Italian vintage photos.
Visit the Facebook page of Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò for more on this special place at NYU.