Ghigo Roli photographer

About me

The photographer Ghigo Roli works in Italy and abroad, having a long experience in different fields: cultural heritage, geographical and travel photography, aerial photography, facsimile reproductions, photography of vintage vehicles. He especially distinguishes himself for the ultra-high resolution Gigapixel photography, which he chose to realise an important photographic campaign of the entire Sistine Chapel on a 1: 1 scale.

He tackles photographic campaigns of great complexity from the initial conception to the final realisation, overcoming organisational and technical problems.

He accomplished a very remarkable campaign to illustrate a complete atlas of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. These photographs have a particular historical and artistic importance since they were used for the restorations of the works of art after the 1997 earthquake.

He has worked a lot in the editorial sector, publishing about forty books on art and geography, as well as plenty of tourist guides for Italian and foreign publishers. He has also produced numerous reportages on assignment for some of the most prestigious international magazines. Ghigo Roli’s photographs have been collected into a vast archive of over 200.000 images, which is available for editorial, commercial, advertising and academic uses.

I was born in Modena in 1956. Four years later my father gave me an old Kodak Brownie (this camera had been, in turn, my grandfather’s gift for his marriage). I shot my first photo at the Paestum temple of Hera. It took quite a long time since, in the viewfinder, I saw all the columns leaning and I did not shoot until, after begging an elder and patient brother of mine, he did carry me on his shoulders on to a rock. Finally the columns were straight! Here’s how I started to think that photography helps to neaten up around. A few years passed and I got a bike and a Comet Bencini. This meant freedom to me. Every day I explored a new street in my native town and I shot a new photo. I did not know anything about Ansel Adams or the "National Geographic", but that small camera was my pass to enter the world, and find both its meaning and mine. When I was twelve I started to develop and print black and white photos in a small clandestine dark room. I turned from "Mickey Mouse" to "Progresso Fotografico" and "Popular Photography", that left a great mark on me. When I was thirteen, during one of my explorations in my native town, I ended up in a disaster area where there still were houses bombed during the war. There was a party in a nursery school: some children, a little younger than I, threw cloth balls against empty tomato tins. I shot a 72-photo roll, using the Canon Demi C, range finder and three lenses. I arouse the teachers’ curiosity: they asked me for my photos. Some days later I sold my first reportage: I was paid with the equivalent of a photo paper pack. Those teachers, whose name is unknown to me, have the responsibility of having created another professional photographer.