About the web-site

This site displays a portfolio of the photographs (landscapes, people, animals, architecture, objects) taken on my travels since 1972. The photographs are organized into galleries and I plan to add new photographs and galleries from different countries on a regular basis. If you find an image you like, I will have achieved my aim and would enjoy hearing from you. I would also be pleased to organize exhibitions of my photographs on request. The  site was realized by Virtual Venice S.r.l.  It was launched on 1 September 2006 and is designed to be best viewed with Microsoft Internet Explorer (PC) and Apple Safari (MAC). I would like to thank my son Domenico for letting me publish some of his photos in my Chile gallery.

Dates of the galleries

Azores 2001 analog

Baltic Countries 1986 analog

Berlin 2006 analog

Budapest 1986 analog

Chile 2009 digital

Cuba 2004 analog

England 1998-1999-2009 analog/digital

Faroe Islands 2004 analog

Foscarini School 2008 digital

Georgia 1989 analog

Iceland 1993 analog

Iran 1972-2007 analog

Ireland 1988 analog

Italy 2004-2006 analog

Kiev/Odessa 1989 analog

Las Vegas 2009 digital

Lenin 1980-2005 analog

Mexico 2007 analog

Morocco 2004 analog

Newfoundland 2005 analog

Norway 2002 analog

Oman 2010 digital

Paris 2009 digital

Potsdam 2008 digital

Romania 1982 analog

Russia 1986-1991 analog

Scotland 1992 analog

South Africa 2005 analog

The Ebrides 1999 analog

Tunisia 2006 analog

United States 2001 analog

US National Parks 2009 digital

Yemen 1982 analog

About the author

I was born in Prato (Italy) in 1952. Since graduating in Persian language and literature from the University of Venice in 1975, I have been teaching those subjects at the same university. I was director of the Department of Eurasian Studies at Venice University from 1990 until 1996 and from 1999 until 2005. I have published many articles and books about classical and contemporary Persian poetry, also working in the  field of translation (my translations into Italian include two books of poems by the Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami: Con il vento, Milan, 2001; Un lupo in agguato, Turin, 2003). Currently I am working on questions of stylistics and rhetoric with a special focus on Persian rhyme and satirical and obscene verse. At the same time as my university studies, I have carried out an intense photographic activity initially devoted to the Persian landscape. My first one-man show of photographs was at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, in October 1976. A year later I showed my works at the 14th Sao Paulo Contemporary Art Biennial, Brazil, and at the Diaframma gallery, Milan. In 1978 I graduated with a diploma in film-making and direction of photography from the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Rome. Since then I have held exhibitions in various Italian cities (Milan, Venice, Bologna, Prato, Bolzano, Montemurlo, Quarrata, Borbiago, Bari, Barolo, Rome, Mestre). In May 2005 I organized an exhibition at the Silk Road gallery in Tehran together with Abbas Kiarostami. In September 2007 my photos of Iran were shown at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. From 28 August to 14 October 2007 I showed my photos of Iran together with photos by Abbas Kiarostami and 56 other Iranian photographers at the Centro Culturale Candiani in Mestre-Venice (catalogue: Iran gente strade paesaggi, Marsilio, Venice, 2007; English edition: Iran people roads landscapes, Marsilio, Venice, 2007). My explorations of the Persian landscape have been featured in magazines (Atlante, XVI, 130, 1975, pp.40-49; Il Diaframma-Fotografia Italiana, 219, 1976, pp.27-34), miscellanies (Oltre la soglia: Iran, cultura, arte, storia, Venice, 2005, pp.146-153), and books  (Golsciane raz, Milan, 1976; Verso Nondove, Tehran, 1984; Un giardino nella voce, Florence, 1995; While poppies bloom, Tehran, 2005; Solitudini persiane, Bari, 2006). Although so far my published photographs have concentrated on the Persian landscape, I have actually taken photographs in over thirty countries and I have a rich archive of images of them. I now plan to publish the most significant photographs from my collection on this site. Three books of photographs taken outside Iran are Il libro di Lenin (Venice, 1992), Venezia alle finestre (Venice 2006) and Marco Foscarini. Una scuola pubblica a Venezia (Venice 2010). The photographs of Venezia alle finestre were shown at the Real Academia de Espana in Rome (19 December 2006 - 18 January 2007), at Ca' Foscari University in Venice (16 maggio - 16 giugno 2007, Ca’ Foscari), at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran (19 February - 13 April 2008), at the Pavillon auf der Freundschaftinsel in Postdam (11 - 29 June 2008) and at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris (15 April - 14 June 2009). As of 2010 I teach Conceiving and Producing Photography at Ca’ Foscari University, Venice.

Solo exhibitions

1. Golshan-e Raz-e Jadid: Iranian Landscape, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 12 - 30 October 1976.

2. Golscian-e Raz: immagini e poesie d'Iran, Centro di Ricerche sull'estetica orientale, Biblioteca Trivulziana, Castello Sforzesco, Milan, 28 February - 11 March 1977.

3. Galleria il Diaframma-Canon, Milan, 5 - 23 April 1977.

4. Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, May 1977.

5. Verso Nondove, Ateneo San Basso, Venice, 17 - 30 November 1987.

6. Verso Nondove, Palazzo Comunale, Prato, 19 Dicember 1987 - 17 January 1988.

7. Verso Nondove, Palazzo d'Accursio, Bologna, 2 - 14 April 1988.

8. Paesaggi persiani, Centro Trevi, Bolzano, 20 February - 25 March 2004.

9. Un giardino nella voce, Biblioteca Comunale Bartolomeo Della Fonte, Montemurlo, 19 February - 6 March 2005.

10. Fin quando ci sono papaveri, in Molahezat-e sha'erane: photographs by Riccardo Zipoli and Abbas Kiarostami (Snow white), Silk Road Gallery, Tehran, 11 - 24 May 2005.

11. Un giardino nella voce, Polo Tecnologico, Quarrata, 26 May - 5 June 2005.

12. Un giardino nella voce, Centro Civico, Borbiago, 17 - 26 March 2006.

13. Incontri, Biblioteca Comunale Bartolomeo Della Fonte, Montemurlo, 13 May - 13 June 2006.

14. Solitudini persiane, Castello Svevo, Bari, 8 June - 30 August 2006.

15. Venezia alle finestre, Real Academia de Espa?a, Rome, 19 December 2006 - 18 January 2007.

16. Dialoghi persiani, Castello di Barolo, Barolo, March 2007.

17. Venezia alle finestre, Universit? Ca' Foscari, Venice, 16 May - 16 June 2007.

18. IRAN people roads landscapes, photographs by Abbas Kiarostami, Riccardo Zipoli and 56 Iranian Contemporary Photographers, Centro Culturale Candiani, Mestre, 27 August 2007 - 14 October 2007.

19. Simply Iran, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, September 2007.

20. Venice in windows, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran, 19 February - 13 April 2008.

21. Dialoghi persiani, Chiesa di Santa Chiara, Cuneo, 29 March - 13 April 2008.

22.  Venedig im Fenster, Pavillon auf der Freundschaftinsel, Potsdam, 11 - 29 June, 2008.

23. Venezia alle finestre, Maison Europ?enne de la Photographie, Paris, 15 April - 14 June, 2009.

24. Marco Foscarini. Una scuola pubblica a Venezia, Liceo convitto Marco Foscarini, Venice, 10 - 22 May, 2010.

25. Lo spazio della coscienza: Solaris di Andrej Tarkovskij fotografato da Riccardo Zipoli, Casa del Cinema - Videoteca Pasinetti, Venice, 2 November - 28 February 2011.

26. Dall'antico al moderno, tra il vero e il falso: materiali, forme e colori, DNA.italia, tecnologia, cultura e economia per il patrimonio, Lingotto Fiere, Torino, 3-5 November, 2011.

Collective exhibitions

1. Arte-Fiera, stand 'Il Diaframma-Fotografia Italiana', Bologna, 1977.

2. Biennal of Art, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1977.

3. Iran-Europe, Eshraq Cultural Centre, Tehran, 23-29 November, 2008.


1. Inner eye, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran, 19 February - 13 April 2008.

2. Inner eye, Chiesa di Santa Chiara, Cuneo, 29 March 2008.

3. Landscapes and roads of Iran, Grosvenor House Hotel, Londra, 15 March 2008 (in occasion of the Nouruz Gala organized by the Iran Heritage Foundation).

4. Inner eye, on occasion of Immagini e suoni: bellezza, armonia, civiltà (Mario Bernardo and some former students of the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia of Rome) at Format, Trento, 16 October, 2009.

5. Un mondo di statue, on occasion of L'Opera parla, Punta della Dogana, Venice, 24 February, 2010.

6. Nostalgie, c'est pour toujours, on occasion of Russie, Memoria, mistificazione, immaginario, Ca' Foscari Esposizioni, Venice, 22 April - 25 July, 2010.

7. Nostalgie, c'est pour toujours, on occasion of the presentation of the book Gli occhi di Stalin. La cultura visuale sovietica nell'era staliniana by Gian Piero Piretto, Aula Baratto, Universit? Ca' Foscari, 27 May, 2010. 

8. Lo spazio della coscienza, immagini dal film Solaris di Andrej Tarkovskij, scelta e montaggio di Riccardo Zipoli, Casa del Cinema - Videoteca Pasinetti, Venice, 2 November -28 February 2010.

9. Immagini dal patrimonio librario del liceo convitto Marco Foscarini, Immagini e montaggio di Riccardo Zipoli, on occasion of Strumenti del Sapere, il patrimonio del Foscarini tra Arte, Lettere e Scienze, Future Centre Telecom, Venice, 19-26 March 2011.

Photographic publications

1. Dove parlò Zarathustra, Atlante, XVI, 130, 1975, pp.40-49.

2. Riccardo Zipoli, “Il Diaframma-Fotografia Italiana”, 219, 1976, pp.27-34.

3. Golsciane Raz, Milan, 1976.

4. Verso Nondove/Ta Nakoja, Tehran, 1363/1984.

5. Il Libro di Lenin/Leninnoma, Venice, 1992.

6. Un giardino nella voce/Bagh-i dar seda, Florence, 1995.

7. Ta shaqayeq hast/While Poppies Bloom, Tehran, 2005.

8. Le tante strade del paesaggio persiano, in Oltre la soglia: Iran. Cultura, arte, storia, Venice, 2005, pp.146-153.

9. Solitudini persiane, Bari, 2006.

10. Venezia alle finestre, Venice, 2006.

11. Venezia alla finestra/Venice in windows, “Ligabue Magazine”, XXVI, 50, September 2007, pp.164-175.

12. IRAN people roads landscapes, Venice, 2007.

13. Tasvir-e Iran, in Amuzesh-e zaban-e farsi, doure-ye pishrafte vol.1, Iranian School of San Diego, 2009, pp. 41-43.

14. Contaminazioni, in A Emanuela, Venice, 2010, pp.112-113.

15. Marco Foscarini. Una scuola pubblica a Venezia, fotografie e cura di Riccardo Zipoli, Venice, 2010.

16. Nostalgie, c'est pour toujours, in Russie, Memoria, mistificazione, immaginario, Terra Ferma, Venice, 2010, pp. 108-109.

17. Janelas de Veneza, in Poesia sempre, numero 33, Ano 17/2010, Rio de Janeiro, pp. 76-84.

18. Bidel-e Italiyayi, in “Sarzamin-e man”, Tehran, 1388/2010, pp.77-85..

19. Dall'antico al moderno, tra il vero e il falso: materiali, forme e colori, in Cesare Feiffer, pensieriparoleopereomissioni: sull'architettura storica e il paesaggio, De Lettera Editore, Milan, 2011, p.19, pp.235-241, 33 photographs.

20. Riccardo Zipoli, photographer n.100 (2 images), in Who's Who in Visual art, 100 Fine Art Photographers, Leipzig, 2011.

About photography

Photography is characterized by a set of choices. Some are usually made before beginning to shoot. Initially, for example, you must decide if you want to work with digital or analogical technology, color or black-and-white photographs, and low or high definition supports. The focal length of the lens, the exposure methods, and the type of framing are normally chosen just before clicking. Once you have clicked, a series of decisions must be made concerning printing (in the case of analogical photography, developing also plays a crucial role) before reaching the final stage, which is the presentation of the photographs.

This list of choices (all obligatory, and we could add others) highlights how making a photograph inevitably involves interpretation. To illustrate this, we could think of two extreme situations for the same scene. In one case a photographer might use analogical technology, a very sensitive black-and-white film, a telephoto lens, fast time, an open diaphragm, high-angle framing, and printing on a large sheet of paper with a mat finish for a final photograph that will be exhibited on its own. In the second case, we could think of a photographer faced with the same scene using digital technology, a high-resolution camera, a wide-angle lens, slow time and closed diaphragm with a 'neutral' frontal frame, for a color photograph printed on gloss paper in a small format to be exhibited with others. Obviously the two final outcomes will provide two very different interpretations of that same scene. Leaving aside these extreme examples, the subjective aspect can also easily be found in the type of photography described as photojournalism, generally considered as reproducing a given scene in the most faithful way. But rather than 'faithful' photographs it would be better to speak in this case of photographs that manage to grasp and describe - i.e. interpret - the essence of the situation. And their success will also depend on the right choices, beginning from framing. In short, a photographic record can never be separated from the will to interpret: this element can be reduced to a minimum but can never be completely eliminated. Accepting as inevitable the interpretative aspect of photography is tantamount to saying that photography is always inspired by a plan. This will characterize the results in a more or less conscious way. And this is true of all types of photography: from photojournalism to abstract expressions, from family albums to explorations of landscapes, from animal pictures to wedding albums, and so on. In other words, the photograph expresses the idea that the author has had of the scene, obviously within the limits set by the technical choices.

Having said this, we can hardly leave out of this interpretative process a further stage which modern technology now makes available: the electronic editing of the image. We would like to think of this process as a kind of second click after the initial shot, a second click modifying the first one and creating a new relationship with the scene in question. We might say a kind of 'armchair second thoughts' about a series of choices already made about reality.

The author can thus calmly revise his photography (at times taken in a great hurry) and create a version much nearer his own sensibility. This is not a question of having a special eye for reality, but having a special eye for an image of reality. The actions involved reflect different attitudes.

The operations made possible by electronic editing range from minimal adjustments right up to large-scale changes that can completely transform the original image. As at the time of taking the photograph, here too the various solutions inevitably reflect different plans. Yet again it is a question of making a personal interpretation of the image. But in this case it is an option and no longer an obligatory choice.

Given the wide range of possibilities, it is firstly essential to decide on the degree of electronic intervention. I believe this intervention must be limited: all the resultant effects may go so far as to reconstruct the plausible but should not go beyond its limits. Within these confines, the changes introduced must not be subject to any kind of censure and they may lead, for example, to the elimination or addition of certain elements as well as color adjustments. Examples of this are the correction to some 'faulty' forms (mountains, stones, lakes, roads, etc.), the removal of undesirable elements (electricity lines, branches, reflections, pebbles, etc.), the introduction of some suggestive components (shrubs, clouds, birds, shadows, etc.), and the choice of the best colors (for flowers, the sky, ground, water, etc.).

A fundamental condition is that unreal situations or atmospheres are not created and that the final image is plausible in the eyes of the observer. Touching up with artificial hues (for example, adding something in an utterly unsuitable place) would attract and concentrate attention on the touching up and its implausibility, thus preventing or impairing the 'natural' enjoyment of the image. In other words, the aim should be to create a scene that might have existed and at the same time, compared to the scene at the time of shooting, is closer to the photographer?s sensibility. This kind of operation enables the photographer to hone the scene reproduced so that it reflects his or her taste. We might describe this process as a kind of 'expressionism of the plausible', in which the photograph shows the sensibility and the taste of the photographer, who interprets and represents the surrounding world from a plausible point of view.

What is particularly important from this point of view is the idea that the photographer has of reality and not reality itself. If a given reality for some reason turns out to be unsatisfactory compared to a plausible ideal model the photographer had in mind, that reality can be adjusted to reflect more faithfully that ideal model. In this sense we may speak of the search for and the actualization of an ?ideal realism?. We must obviously add that imagining and creating an alternative plausible idea of a given reality is a prerogative of those who have a profound insight into that reality. Only someone with the right knowledge is aware, for example, when removing a shrub will not falsify the landscape but create a possible variation, producing a plausible ideal model. It should also be remembered that in his mind's eye the photographer may shape more than one ideal model, correcting and supplementing observed reality. The photographer can in fact imagine various alternative changes giving rise to different final outcomes. The result is that the same reality can conceal various plausible variations, in a play of different levels with multiple superimpositions, transforming the world into a great kaleidoscope.

Once the image has been completed according to the logic just described, it must be printed and presented, with all the variations involved in these two operations. Think, for example, about the kind and size of paper (if other media are excluded) or the ways of presenting or exhibiting the photographs to the public (matting, frames, book, exhibition, individual photographs, pairs, in sequence, etc).

We would stress that the various stages of the process outlined here require skills that we might schematically associate with three ?organs?: the eye, the mind, and the heart. The eye observes and chooses, the mind reflects and elaborates, the heart gives soul and is capable of arousing feelings. The simultaneous presence of these functions will ensure a photograph has basic quality while the absence of even only one of them implies an unsatisfactory result. The choice of a landscape, for example, may be striking but, if it is not aided by the mind, the construction of the image may be badly organized and, if the heart is not involved, the image, even if chosen well and excellently structured, may turn out to be cold and lifeless. Similarly, the photograph may be well constructed, but may have no aesthetic values and be soulless, or it may have feeling but may be badly organized and lack taste, and so on in a variety of insufficient combinations. Here an example may be enlightening. Family albums often contain photographs that are the outcome of a good eye and passionate heart, but often lack the elaboration typical of the mind. In this case it takes a few correctional touches to make those pictures more captivating. In all of this, technical perfection is not a necessary and, even less, sufficient condition for the purposes of producing a successful photograph: but obviously any possible shortcomings must not undermine the final outcome of the image.

Lastly, I should like to say that my photographic activity has never had the exclusive characteristics typical of the full-time professional world. My photographs have come from my travels, often with my family and friends, and sometimes for study, when I took some occasional shots without being able to wait for any great length of time, make deliberate visits, or repeat shots several times.

Technical details

I have used Kodak slides (usually 200 ISO) and Nikon cameras (Nikkormat and Nikon FM2) with 50 mm and 135 mm lenses (in some rare cases I have used a 24 mm lens) almost always equipped with a polarizing filter. The images have been scanned from slides using a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 scanner. To minimize load time in  the site, each image is reduced through JPEG. Recently I have used a digital camera: a Nikon D300 with a 18-200 mm lense.