Tony Patrioli / Photographer - (1941 - living) - Italy
Antonio Patrioli (his real name is Antonio Pietta) was born in Manerbio, near Brescia, and lives in Milan. He began to take pictures as an amateur in 1965, choosing the male nude as his subject and using his lovers as his models. When he received an offer an ofer to publish his photographs commercially in the mid-1970s, Patrioli completed a course in advertising photography in Milan.
‘I began as an erotic photographer and I make no apologies for it’, Patrioli says. Unlike other Italian photographers of male nudes, such as Angelo Fallai, Giampaolo Barbieri and Dino Pedriali, Patrioli from the outset, and explicitly, directed his work at a gay audience, and came out as homosexual in Homo in the 1970s. The same magazine published his first softcore photographs (and later hardcore ones).
From 1976 to 1986 Patrioli produced photographs for this and other Italian and international magazines (especially in northern Europe). ‘Erotic photos were the only nude photos for which there was a market at this time. There were no books of nude photos, and no market for them’, he remembers.
Patrioli nevertheless took an interest in nude photos of a more artistic sort, initially inspired by the work of Wilhelm von Gloeden, ‘partly because Gloeden was the only photographer of the male nude who was not banned in Italy at the time, partly because his fantasties coincided with my own. The physical culture photos from America seemed too far from the world and the youths which I saw all around me’. Patrioli thus portrayed and documented the last stage of a particular Mediterranean culture which disappeared in Italy in the wake of the ‘sexual revolution’ - young men who, although always heterosexual, were available for homoerotic activities if they had no access to heterosexual ones. In his work, they were always youths from the south of Italy, clearly amused by the narcissistic game of posing for the photographer yet anxious about exhibiting their sexual desirability to those who, according to the mores of the time, had no right to their bodies.
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