Born in Bageria in 1943, Scianna enrolled at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Palermo where he attended various classes without actually completing his studies. In 1963, Leonardo Sciascia visited by chance Scianna’s first photographic exhibition -the theme was folk festivals- at the cultural center of Bagheria. A friendship began. A connection that will be critical for his career. Sciacca, in fact, contributed to the writing of Scianna’s first book, Religious Festivals in Sicily, which won him the Nada prize Nadar in 1966.
In 1967 Scianna moved to Milan and within a year he began working as a photojournalist and special correspondent with “L’Europeo” (The European), later becoming the French correspondent based in Paris. In 1977 he published in France “Les Sicilians” (Denoel), with texts by Dominique Fernandez and Leonardo Sciascia, and in Italy “The villa of the monsters” -introduction by Leonardo Sciascia.
In Paris Scianna wrote for Le Monde Diplomatique and La Quinzaine littéraire. He also met know Henri Cartier-Bresson -whose work had influenced him since his youth. In 1982 Cartier-Bresson will introduce Scianna as the first and only Italian photographer in the prestigious international photo agency, Magnum Photos, of which he will become a full member in 1989. In 1984 he worked with Bresson and André de Pieyre Mandiargues on the “Henri Cartier-Bresson: portraits” (Collins).
Meanwhile he befriends and cooperates with many successful writers, including Manuel Vázquez Montalbán (who a few years later he wrote the introduction of “Le forme del chaos” (1989). Scianna also worked in the fashion industry and in advertising, establishing itself as one of the most requested photographers. His contribution was essential to the success of the campaigns of Dolce and Gabbana in the second half of the eighties.
In 1995 he returns to tackle religious themes publishing “Viaggio a Lourdes”, and in 1999 are published portraits of the famous Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. In 2003 the book “Quell di Bagheria” was released: a reconstruction of the setting and the atmosphere of his youth through a search in the individual and collective memory. In 2009 he published the photo book Baaria Bagheria with countryman Giuseppe Tornatore, on the occasion of his new film Baaria.
1. Doppiozero, http://www.doppiozero.com/materiali/clic/su-vistiscritti-di-ferdinando-scianna
2. The Red List, http://theredlist.com/wiki-2-16-601-790-view-social-documentary-profile-scianna-fernandino.html
3. Livejournal, http://everyday-i-show.livejournal.com/223818.html?page=1
4. Magnum Photos, http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&ERID=24KL53ZX4A
5. Wikipedia, https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinando_Scianna