This site uses cookies to provide a better experience. Continuing navigation accept the use of cookies by us OK

Happenchance: World War II Photographs, Italian Campaign, 1942-1945



Happenchance: World War II Photographs, Italian Campaign, 1942-1945

Photographs by Alfonso Carrara, American 5th Army scount during the war

The Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco is pleased to present Happenchance: World War II Photographs, Italian Campaign, 1942-1945, an exhibition of photographs by Alfonso Carrara (1922-2012). Carrara, an Italian-American architect-artist-poet-photographer, documented the exhausted, disoriented populations and war-ravaged architecture of Italy’s small towns and villages during the Allied northward advance through the countryside in 1944-45. As a scout, translator and interrogator for the American 5th Army, Carrara, unarmed but carrying a camera, entered towns just as the remnants of the German army were departing. From one profound transitional moment to another, he was able to capture the implicit and understated life-changing drama evidenced by his presence. Carrara’s war vision carries what John Burt described, in Lincoln’s Tragic Pragmatism, as the “inexhaustible inwardness” of its maker. Carrara, the empathic modernist, made imagery to honor, to the extent possible, the unbiased yet flawed truth of photographic observation. The dramatic subject matter of his photographs reflects the precariousness and immediacy of what he encountered. Carrara's sensitive and apolitical eye found a wounded heritage, a family’s legacy punished by war, damaged places and wearied faces of the liberated and the ravaged. His camera would, with equanimity, preserve everything from the final destruction of a 19th century village to the very last photographs of Mussolini’s body, in the custody of the American Army, in a plywood coffin. At the opening, Carrara’s widow, Gillion Carrara, will speak on her husband’s war experiences from Anzio to Piazzale Loreto and beyond. Please register here for the opening reception.


Date: Thursday, June 18, 2015

Entrance : Free