Paolo Ferrari, photojournalist who chronicled the Bologna massacre, leaves us.

Paolo Ferrari, the photojournalist who chronicled one of Bologna's most harrowing pages, has passed away at the age of 86.

Paolo Ferrari, the photojournalist who chronicled through his lens the lights and shadows of the city, died at the age of 86 in Bologna after a long illness. In particular, he documented with his camera the August 2 Bologna massacre: the terrorist attack that took place at the Central Station in 1980.

Active since the 1970s as a photojournalist, he intercepted calls to police cruisers with a device, a trick he perhaps learned while studying in New York. His photographs document the drama of events without emphasis or sensationalism. Indeed, some of the most dramatic images after the bomb blast at the station are his, as are the tragic photos of the bodies left on the asphalt by the Savi brothers’ gang.

He worked on set with Pupi Avati from the director’s early days, introducing him also to a very young Mariangela Melato, and was a correspondent for Associated Press.

His colleagues remember him as a special person: gruff, focused and sometimes stern at work, but prone to banter and sharp, irreverent irony.

In 2015 he donated his photographic archive of some two million shots to Genus Bononiae. Museums in the City of Bologna, on the condition that the Archive would remain in his studio, where he worked for a lifetime in the heart of Bologna, on Via Marsala. Some of the photos are currently on display at the Oratory of Santa Maria della Vita, on the occasion of the exhibition Criminis Imago. Images of Crime in Bologna.

“I have a beautiful, enduring memory of Paolo Ferrari: our friendship began in the 1970s and was consolidated in the following decades,” says Genus Bononiae President Fabio Roversi-Monaco. "A great professional, with a deep love for his city, testified by the gift he wanted to make of his Archive to Genus Bononiae, from which come the shots that today can be admired in the exhibition Criminis Imago at Santa Maria della Vita. An initiative that is having great success with the public, testifying to the extraordinary quality of the images. And I am sure that still in the future the Ferrari Archive will be able to offer Genus Bononiae material to carry out similar initiatives, able to offer us renewed views on the history of our city, its lights and its shadows."

“Paolo has not left us: his most authentic spirit remains with us through the photographs in his Archive, and his view of the history he delivered to us,” commented Marco Baldassari, head of the Ferrari Archive. “His deepest essence remains in that mighty mass of shots - one and a half million, from the 1960s to the early 2000s - that he generously wished to donate to Genus Bononiae, in the Archive that bears his name, inside his studio in Via Marsala in which he worked for decades and in which he wanted the work of preservation and archiving to take place, to keep it alive and vital.”

Pictured is Paolo Ferrari. Copyright Ferrari Archive

Paolo Ferrari, photojournalist who chronicled the Bologna massacre, leaves us.
Paolo Ferrari, photojournalist who chronicled the Bologna massacre, leaves us.

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