Mirella Ricciardi was born into a stimulating Franco-Italian lineage and brought up in Kenya. The prophetic gift of a camera caught her imagination; after apprenticeships in Paris and New York, she had the skills to give a purpose to her nomadic instincts and to her intense curiosity.Today, Mirella Ricciardi’s archive, of words and of images, bears poignant and inspiring witness to a world that has gone, to the ways of life of people’s in Africa, in what was evocatively called ‘Arabia’, and in unspoilt territories of South America.
Mirella Ricciardi’s African pictures have the integrity of spontaneous intuitive documents born from the deep love of someone who knew and understood the subject. There is nothing voyeuristic here, no sense of exploitation of the exotic, rather that of tender familial engagement, together with a considerable respect for the inherent nobility of what was in front of her lens.
Lost treasures of negatives and transparencies and vintage prints have been discovered by her daughter and Director of the Archive in 2006, with new images being constantly unearthed to add to the exquisite collection.
The Platinum-palladium prints of the 1954 to 1968 series, offer the ultimate in photographic permanence, this, coupled with their subtle tonal range and the tactile quality of the image on hand-made paper, makes the platinum print the most valued of all photographic images.
The one month long exhibition, in collaboration with Guinevere’s 55 years in the trade is a wonderful marriage of two iconic companies, Guinevere Antiques and Vanishing Africa Ltd, coming together to mix the old and new with strong black and white and some colour photography of Africa and Arabia.
Mirella Ricciardi’s rare photographs are available to acquire as limited edition prints signed by the artist.