slender young beauty from Florence, Italy, she began her affair with art
photography working as an assistant for one of the craft's most enduring
talents, Arthur Fellig, better known as Weege. From this innocuous beginning
she went on to become one of the most prominent forces in art photography,
influencing such powerhouses as Robert Mapplethorpe and garnering
international acclaim for her fine art nudes, specifically her male nudes.
When she was not avoiding his advances, Dianora Niccolini actually learned
quite a bit about photography from Weege. That apprenticeship combined
with her having grown up Florence, a city famed for its marvelous statues,
many of which are muscular, naked, male figures, helped propel her toward
her life's work in photography and working with the nude in particular.
Her interest in shooting males in the nude was borderline scandalous
thirty years ago, most deeming the male body fit only for homosexual and pornographic
material. Dianora persevered and fought through this stigma finally
earning a showing of her work at the Third Eye Gallery in New York City.
It was 1975. The exhibit got wonderful reviews and the acceptance of the
male nude as a legitimate artistic subject for modern-day photographers
was off to a great start, paving the way for such superstars as Robert
Mapplethorpe, Herb Ritts, Greg Gorman, Bruce Weber, Nan Goldin, and
perhaps even laid the foundation for the notorious Calvin Klein ads in the
1980's that utilized scantily clad hunks photographed in an beautiful,
artistic style that was quite similar to Niccolini's.
Numerous exhibits and published anthologies that have included Dianora's
nudes have unquestionably confirmed both her genius and her contribution
to the medium. David Leddick's book, The Male Nude, specifically
helped to cement her reputation for classic yet daring portrayals of the
male body, and she remains an active and ultra-influential force in the
art world today. For a complete listing of Ms. Niccolini's exhibitions and
anthologies please see her website, www.DianoraNiccolini.com.