Luigi Ghirri was born in Scandiano (Reggio Emilia) in 1943 and died in Roncocesi (Reggio Emilia) in 1992. One of the most important and influential figures in contemporary photography, he started his career in 1970, adopting an approach that was greatly influenced by conceptual art. His research soon attracted international attention. In 1975 Time-Life included him among the “discoveries” of its Photography Year, and he showed at the Photography as Art exhibition at Kassel. In 1982 he was invited to the Photokina in Cologne, where, in the Photographie 1922-1982 exhibition, he was presented as one of the twenty most significant photographers of the 20th century. Towards the end of the 1970s, Ghirri began exhibiting with increasing frequency, and it was in this same period that the idea of doing some large-scale cultural promotion began to take shape. He worked on a number of publishing projects for Punto e Virgola, which he founded together with Paola Borgonzoni and Giovanni Chiaramonte (1978-1980), and then on the organization of exhibitions such as Iconicittà (1980), Viaggio in Italia (1984) and Esplorazioni sulla Via Emilia (1986), which drew him into the centre of lively debate. He completed a range of public and private commissions in the 1980s, interpreting architecture and the Italian landscape, and offering a reading of the work of a number of prominent architects.
In 1985 Aldo Rossi invited him to work on the architecture section of the Venice Biennale and in 1988 he curated the photography section of the Milan Triennial. His long and deep reflection on the landscape theme culminated at the end of the 1980s with the publication of Italian landscape and II profilo delle nuvole, both of which appeared in 1989.