In Naples, the Pipolo family is the real witness of marriages

In Naples, the Pipolo family is the real witness of marriages

Portrait“Yes, I do” (3/6). The Pipolo studio, created by Orestes and taken over by his daughters Ivana and Miriam, is an institution in the capital of Campania. It offers very theatrical images, while respecting the religious aspect of the ceremony.

This Neapolitan studio, dedicated exclusively to wedding photography, is a family affair. It was created by Oreste Pipolo in 1976, and developed successfully until his death in 2015. His two daughters, Ivana and Miriam, have continued the adventure since. Oreste Pipolo was nicknamed the “Shaman of the bride and groom” or the “Maradona of photography”. Neapolitan by birth and heart, fascinated by his city and its people, he quickly imposed a style that mixed the instantaneous and the staged, black and white and color.

Trained in theatrical photography, Oreste Pipolo has retained from this experience a sense of acting with the actors – the leading roles, as well as the extras – as well as a particular attention given to the costume and the set. In the eye of the photographer, a wedding ceremony is akin to real theater and love that shows itself in broad daylight.

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The preparation of a bride photographed by the Neapolitan Oreste Pipolo (1949-2015).

It is with tenderness and humor that he sketched countless moving and kitsch scenes, with an inventive sense of staging. “Wedding photographers were not considered artists in Italy, it was believed that they were only interested in the commercial aspect. On the contrary, its merit is precisely to have brought the sector of art photography closer”explains his daughter Miriam.

A city where “the culture of appearance reigns”

In the documentary dedicated to him by renowned filmmaker Matteo Garrone in 1998, we see Oreste Pipolo at work in his most prosperous period. He rushes through Naples on his white Vespa, with a sleeveless Canon jacket, to go and photograph a bride in the family fish market, where he is welcomed as a member of the family. Because the real witness of marriage is him. He fidgets amid preparations for the ceremony, which feel like filming a movie or rehearsing a prank. Nothing seems to escape him: he checks by himself the hairstyle of these ladies or the make-up of the bride, whose head he then enters inside an empty frame, with a landscape chromo which floats behind -plan. The bursts of photos are punctuated with injunctions to his team of assistants: “Marco! Mark! Pay attention to her hair! » Orestes makes people dream with next to nothing.

A married couple photographed by the Neapolitan Oreste Pipolo (1949-2015).

“The most interesting aspect of his photography lies in the environment he shows around weddingsexplains his daughter Miriam. The images cannot be understood without the Neapolitan socio-cultural context. In our city, marriage is a festive event, in which the sense of religion is mixed with worldliness. But the photos of my father are not meant to disrespect marriage as a sacrament. This city, where the culture of appearance reigns, had become in his eyes the capital of marriage! »

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