Street Scenes & Visions of Humanity
Photography by Carmel Vitullo
Curated by: Maggie North
Carmel Vitullo was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July 16, 1925, and grew up in the small Italian community of Federal Hill. After graduating from Classical High School she attended the Rhode Island SChool of Design (RISD) and majored in painting. She then went on to pursue her other passion, photography. Carmel studied at the New York Institute of Photography where she became enthralled by the work of Henri Cartier Brisson, and learned the artistic importance of space and time.
In 1955, Carmel’s Grand Central (show next) was featured in “The Family of Man” exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibit aimed to explain man to man, and articulated a universal vision of humanity through life’s everyday elements and sentiments as they were captured in photographs. The exhibit was an exciting moment in Vitullo’s career, and her best work would be created in the next two decades. An intrest in humanity as well in individual and collective identity links Vitullo to “The Family of Man” and can be traced throughout several of Carmel’s projects.
“The Family of Man” Exhibit | Grand Central
The following selection of photographs has been curated with special attention to Vitullo’s talent for capturing intimate, human moments and in the spirit of “The Family of Man”. The trajectory of this humanist theme is informed by Vitullo’s own biographical narrative and influences. Here, identity unfolds in five subsequent groupings.
Like Carmel’s Grand Central, which captures refugees in hopefull transit to their next stage in life, the next group of photographs appeals to the idea of adapting to a new place. Taken in Vitullo’s childhood neighborhood, the largely Italian immigrant Federal Hill, adults and families find their way into communities that are together but seperate, in the process of assimilation.
Neighborhood Newness | Butcher Shop
Neighborhood Newness | Grandchildren
Neighborhood Newness | Women
Neighborhood Newness | Street Chat
Neighborhood Newness | Street Games II
Inside and outside of her Italian neighborhood, Vitullo explored individuality. She capatures personal moments that are sometimes somber but not always unhappy. Stark constrasts and rather ambient backgrounds contribute to a sense of isolation in the following photographs. Aloneness, even in the moment, allows us to focus on the human self.
Individual Identity | Dapper
Individual Identity | Waiting
Individual Identity | Narragansett Pier
Individual Identity | Patterns
The next group explores the crowd scene, rather than the individual. Standing in a crowd allowed Carmel to experience the buslte of strangers, and to be fully invested in her given place and time. She provides a window into a collective scene, but we do not lose her eye or sense of vision. By chance or by fate, the people in these images find themselves grouped in a shared space and time.
11. Crowds | Block Island Ferry Landing
Crowds | Bristol Parade
Crowds | Swift Escape
Roots and Connections
Photographing crowds and individuals allowed Vitullo to explore human aloneness and togetherness. At the end of the day, the interactions between people were what interested her most. For Vitullo, there was no better way to explore her heritage, and observe verbal and physical communication than by taking a trip to Italy in 1966. In these pieces from her tour abroad, a single moment, a gesture, or glance may be unexpectedly sincere or telling. The humorous, loving, curious, or expressive gestures bring family, friends, and even strangers, together.
Roots and Connections | Murano Glass Studio
Roots and Connections | La Famiglia
Roots and Connections | Scarf Stall Dispute
Roots and Connections | Swimmers at the Lido
Roots and Connections | An Italian Conversation
The last group of photographs was taken in the Rhode Island neighborhood known as Oakland Beach in the late 1960’s. Unlike the refugees in Grand Central, the people photographed here have become part of their environment and developed an assimilated, collective identity. Oakland Beach is in a different kind of transition: It is still a beach town, but one where a living could be made from the shore. Carmel presents the viewer with a vernacular, collective, working class America. Children and adults are integrated into their community in a way that allows the viewer to connect with them and their place in the world on an intimate level.
Belonging | Hello!
Belonging | Play Fellows
Belonging | Luncheonette
Belonging | Resting
Belonging | Arcade Cashier
Belonging | Bicycle Rider
Belonging | Oakland Beach II
Limited Edition Prints of 20 are available at the gallery.
These archival prints are made from a digital scan of the original negative using laser photo processing.
Prints are signed and numbered.
11" x 14" overall size
Priced at $300 unframed and $350 framed.
To enquire about rare silver gelatin prints and artist’s prints, please contact Bert Gallery directly at (401) 751-2628 or firstname.lastname@example.org