Franco Fontana is one of the most famous contemporary Italian photographers, considered one of the pioneers of the color format. Best-known for his abstract colour landscapes, he is credited as the inventor of the photographic line, often referred to as 'the concept of line'. His bold use of color has earned him comparisons with painters such as Newman, Rothko, and de Staël.

A former Interiors Showroom owner, Fontana was born in Modena in 1933, he took up photography out of “curiosity” in 1961 at 28 years old. He learned his craft working and exhibiting throughout Europe during the 1960s, eventually turning pro in the the early 70s, around the same time as he published his first book.

Portrait of Franco Fontana - Adsum
Franco Fontana

It was during the 70s that Fontana started to gain international recognition, both through his landscape work and his latest series ‘Presenza/Assenza’ (Presence / Absence) - focused on shadows. Several of his landscapes were licensed by ECM records for releases between 1976 - 1978, including titles by Keith Jarrett, Terje Rypal, and Colin Walcott, he also shot some incredible urban landscapes during his travels across the United States in 1979.

Adsum Franco Fontana Urban Landscape, San Francisco, 1979

Fontana took on more commercial work through the 80s and 90s, including campaigns for the likes of Hermes, Versace, Volvo, Volkswagen, and Sony, as well as work for Time and Life magazines, Vogue and The New York Times. 1984 saw the release of his ‘Piscina’ series (Swimming Pool), nudes being Fontana’s other keen interest.

 Franco Fontana Puglia 1978- Adsum
Puglia 1978

Regardless of the subject, Fontana’s work always carries his own distinctive style. He apparently shot 35mm for most of his career, but his perfect sense of composition, and love of color are what really set him apart.

“Every photo I take is part of me, bearing testimony to who I am. When I photograph a landscape, the landscape is photographing itself through me. I embrace the landscape, become the landscape, and bear witness to the landscape. As I always say, all you can discover in the world is what you have inside…”.

Franco Fontana’s vast portfolio is impressive from start to finish, but it was his landscapes of the 70s and 80s that particularly resonated when researching and developing this season’s collection – inspired by the harvest season and the land.

We highly recommend spending some time exploring his work if you haven't already.

Franco Fontana's website