Professional stage photographer and photographic-editorial archivist, I have achieved my artistic and professional education at Accademia Teatro alla Scala and at Cfp Bauer in Milan. I collaborate with many Italian theaters and companies, for which I documented important productions and events. Furthermore, I have documented important Italian festivals, including Festival Verdi, Puccini Festival, Spoleto Festival. My images have been part of multiple solo and group exhibitions including Album di compleanno - 1813-2013, La Scuola di Ballo dell'Accademia Teatro alla Scala, promoted by Fondazione Bracco and Accademia Teatro alla Scala and Il km della danza within the event On dance by Roberto Bolle; Tableaux Vivants at the festival of Orvieto in 2018; Spazio e corpi nell'opera italiana at the International Festival of Photography of Lishui in China in 2019, Tableaux Vivants at Winter Show of the Fondo Malerba in Milan in 2020. In 2019 I became the FIOF ambassador of Italian photography in China. My photographs have been awarded in prestigious national and international competitions, including Tokyo International Foto Awards and The Prix de la Photographie Paris. Numerous are the publications on national and international newspapers and magazines specialized in the theatrical field.
Tableaux vivants is a project designed to analyse the complex relationship between the two fundamental elements on which the stage photography is based, a relationship synthetically expressed through the concept, the play within the play.
Since its inception, the theatre has always contributed to the effort made by writers and intellectuals to represent the reality, whether tragic, comic or imaginary, interpreting every kind of nuance to the slightest details. An ideal reality, therefore, which is the outcome of the talent of who has skilfully woven the threads of a canvas that weaves together bodies, lights, colours, sets and costumes: the director. Hence, the show is the metaphor of the existence itself and the stage the space in which the idealisation of reality materialises.
On the other hand, photography, the emblem of the technical reproducibility in the modern age, is the privileged tool for “representing” the reality, i.e. the one interpreted by the director. Through photography, people become observers of ideas, dreams, memories and aspirations. A way of reading that highlights the peculiar quality of photography as authentic, uncritical representation.
The fusion of the two elements optimally contributes to achieve the goal that is concealed in the shots, namely, to offer the audience a copious number of images, capable of describing the countless realities visualised by the director and put on stage in synergy with actors and workers.
The methodology used is based on a coherent visualisation of the overall structure, through a “symbolic cage”, in which the scenes are represented. The shooting point is frontal, centralised and objective, in front of which the actors’ movements flow. The capture of the scenes is characterised by a rigorous, classical style with a precise visual tone in which sharpness, highest depth of field, harmony and colour are the fundamental elements.
The result is a realistic rendering of the performance, in which the visual information is expressed with maximum clarity: the so-called play within the play.
"Hallo, my name is Alessia Santambrogio and I am a stage photographer. In this short video I would like to tell you about my project Tableaux Vivants. This project started a few years ago, about seven, with the intention of examining in depth the relationship between scene, representation and reality. These pictures were taken in various theatres, all different from each other in terms of structure, size of the hall and of the stage. In all of them, however, I wanted to look for the same centralised shooting point, as if the photographs had been taken in just one theatre, a sort of ideal theatre. Additionally, I emphasized the colour in each of these images. By their nature, performing arts are something ephemeral, existing only in a given place and time. The scope and intent of the stage photographer is to represent the memory of a performance. As soon as the curtain is closed, the performance no longer exists; memories and visions of it remain imprinted only in the minds and in the hearts of those who could attend the performance and in the frame of the camera, which becomes a witness to that performance and its memory for the future. For this reason, I believe that the responsibility of the stage photographer is considerable, because these pictures become documents, proof of the reality that was on stage. It is very important to be able to illustrate the vision of those who conceived and realised the show, in order to leave a tangible piece of history. I think that being a stage photographer is a wonderful job, because it allows you to get to know a lot of realities and always learn something new. In this job, the proscenium is the window from which I photograph. In this project, photographic and theatrical are counterpoints to each other. I thank you all for listening. "