Oscar Marzaroli


Photography has interested me for a long time and at Bourne Fine Art (www.bournefineart.co.uk) in Edinburgh, there is an exhibition presently being shown there (http://www.bournefineart.com/Exhibition/p/exhibition/767#information) featuring Oscar Marzaroli, a renowned Scottish photographer.

Marzaroli was born in Castiglione Vara, northern Italy in 1933 and moved to Glasgow at the age of two.  He attended the Glasgow School of Art and then became a photo journalist in Europe and London, finally returning to Glasgow in 1959.

courtesy of BBC


By photographing in black and white, he created a  realistic record of post-second world war Scotland and became famous for his images of the city in the 1960’s.  He was well-known for his pictures of the Gorbals as the bulldozers cleared out the streets of run down tenements.  With his pictures, he captured the desperation of a nation in the age of regeneration and he presented, through his photography, people struggling with poverty while retaining a strong sense of pride and community.  During the 1960’s, Glasgow’s industrial decline was reducing them from the second city of the empire to deprivation in the dockland slums and urban areas.

courtesy of BBC


Marzaroli focused his pictures on the street life of Glasgow, including the children, the steelworks and the shipyards.  He engaged with his subjects and moved amongst them as an equal.  The late poet Edwin Morgan stated that the photographer created the “most evocative record” of  “the destruction and renewal of ways of life in the heart of the city”.

courtesy of BBC


Oscar Marzaroli died in 1988 at the age of 55 but he left behind a legacy of the images he had chronicled during the social and architectural changes in Glasgow’s appearance.

The  exhibition is free and runs from 5-27 November at the Bourne Fine Art Studio. 

There are also some great on-line resources pertaining to Marzaroli and his work.  An interview with the photographer can be read at http://textualities.net/jennie-renton/shades-of-grey/ where he has said “Some people aren’t happy with my pictures of Glasgow.  They’re not rosy pictures in beautiful Technicolour.  They’re black and white and they are what they are, a happening in time which was quite authentic.”

The pictures I have here are from the BBC News (4 January 2008) and the book images are from Amazon but there is also a fabulous website where you can view his work:  http://www.oscarmarzaroli.com/home.html.  Finally, there is a recent article in the Scotsman telling readers of the current exhibition and describing the work of Oscar Marzaroli.   http://heritage.scotsman.com/heritage/In-pictures-The-ItalianScot-whose.6613613.jp

He has also written a number of books, one of which is at the top of the blog and one at the bottom.  I’ve put them on my amazon wish list for Christmas.



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