Duty of Memory is the name of the exhibition that Stefano Benazzo dedicates to the wrecks of ships and boats. A work of photography around the world lasted over six years. Born in 1949, in addition to being Italy’s ambassador to Minsk and Sofia, Benazzo has always cultivated his passion for photography. Today he is a renowned lens artist. An excerpt of his work can now be seen in his solo exhibition at the Rahmi M. Koç Museum in Istanbul, open until 31 March, which brings together a selection of 60 photos. The subjects are shipwrecks and boats taken around the world, where fate has led them to strand at the end of their last journey.
“I want to bring back to life whoever sailed there.”
“I photograph the wrecks so that they can get their last chance to express themselves, thanks to images that carry within themselves the life of the sailors and their memory, so their dreams remain alive and continue to exist. Paying attention to the remains of ships, I try to revive them, bringing back to life those who have sailed there. By illustrating every single image of my exhibition to Rahmi Koç and the other guests, by answering the many questions, I saw my wrecks come to life once again: it was as if the men who had once sailed were talking,” he said. “Duty of Memory” is the title of the exhibition of photos that the former diplomat has taken on four continents during more than six years of work: Italy, Greece, Portugal, Iceland, Mauritania, Namibia, Turks & Caicos Islands, South Georgia, Chile and Falkland/Malvinas. “I am honored,” says Benazzo, “to have been invited to exhibit my photographs in this transport museum, largely dedicated to the history of boating and navigation: I could not hope for a more suitable setting for this exhibition, which aims to become itinerant in Turkey.
An itinerant exhibition
Between June and October, the collection will be housed in another of the museums of the magnate and philanthropist Rahmi M. Koç in Ankara and, perhaps, also in Bursa, thanks to the support of the honorary consul of Italy in that city.
Stefano Benazzo is now used to the limelight of exhibitions, in his career there are already 40 personal and 16 on wrecks. “By a lucky coincidence, even if nothing happens by chance,” he declared, “Rahmi Koç and I found ourselves in full agreement on the need to respect the “Duty of Memory” towards those who created, managed, led the ships, the means, the equipment that allowed man to grow our civilizations.
The image used for the poster is the same one printed on the cover of the book “Wrecks: Wrecks” (Skira, 2017), winner of an award Carlo Marincovich. She portrays Samson, the deep-sea tugboat, in armament for 57 years, of which 45 years in Falkland, where the photo was taken; Samson escaped from the disaster many ships and rescued hundreds of seafarers before being disbarred in 1945. A photo of great visual impact. Taken despite the 40 knots of air blowing when Benazzo arrived on those shores and preventing his tripod from remaining in place.
At the opening of the exhibition, the Italian Ambassador Massimo Gaiani and Elena Sgarbi, Consul General of Italy in Istanbul, took part. The exhibition took place thanks to their support and contribution in finding two sponsors (Yapi Kredi and Organik Group).