Carla Sozzani has built an inimitable career toasting some of the top names in photography from her eponymous gallery at 10 Corso Como in Milan. Since its opening in 1990, the address has grown to accommodate fashion, design, books, even a hotel. And yet Galleria Carla Sozzani has remained true to its original ethos: to raise the profile of photography with rarely seen work by talents new and established.
This month Sozzani raises a toast to her own talents - as a patron, trendsetter and empire-builder - with a new limited-edition book and exhibition chronicling the first 22 years of her gallery. For both, Sozzani has assembled the most significant pieces from those years, from the debut exhibition of Louise Dahl-Wolfe to Yousuf Karsh's Hollywood portraiture, as well as work from Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz and Kwong Chi Tseng, a lesser-known figure on New York's East Village scene.
But the book goes beyond your average art tome. Sozzani sets it out as a complete history, incorporating newspaper reviews, installation shots and snaps from opening parties with characters like David LaChapelle, which make 10 Corso Como look like Milan's version of Studio 54.
The hardback edition comes in a two-volume box designed by Sozzani's longtime collaborator Claudio dell'Olio. Accompanying text by Giuliana Scimé tells tales of the big personalities who showed in Milan in the days before the city had fully embraced photography.
And it weaves in details of Sozzani's relationship with Kris Ruhs, her partner and creative director. Back in 1990, Ruhs' installation art transformed the former garage in a dark corner of Milan into an avant garde exhibition space. To bring things full circle, Sozzani has chosen some of Ruhs' most recent pieces to decorate the current show.