The annual Cortona on the Move international photography festival, which opened July 13 and continues through October 1, features hundreds of images of the people and issues that define cultures around the globe, aimed at generating both reflection and debate.
“Today, photography has become more important than ever for helping explain the world to us,” said Sarah Leen, director of photography at National Geographic. “It’s a medium that is being used by everybody to tell stories, to talk to one another, to stay in touch. I think that professional photography is going to become more and more important.”
The three-day opening weekend included panel discussions, book signings and guided tours. During one of those discussions, Leen recounted the evolution of photography from the days of black-and-white to color to the current digital formats. Throughout that history, she said, the best photography can be found at “the intersection of art and journalism.”
Many of the photographs on display at the festival, which began in 2011, fit that description. The subjects range from Afghan soldiers to American women to Iranian youth. The issues deal with poverty and migration and the environment, in locations from Ukraine to Colombia to Ethiopia.
Photographer Simone Donati of the Florentine photography collective TerraProject turned his lens on the people of Cortona, looking at the work of local sporting associations and social clubs that serve clients such as those who are elderly, disadvantaged or disabled. The project, titled “Non solo gol,” was commissioned by the Comune of Cortona as part of its “Lo sport un compagno di vita” campaign. The photos are displayed outdoors at Parco Parterre, visible to bikers, runners or children using the nearby playground.
“I believe sport is a great tool for uniting people and building friendship and trust,” Donati said, explaining that he encountered real people enjoying what they were doing in activities that created a social network. “It was interesting to enter into all these realities, a 360-degree view of an active and vibrant community like that of Cortona.”