Antonella Monzoni

Antonella has a photojournalistic and at the same time intimist approach; her photography is aimed at preserving cultural memory. That’s especially true in Madame, which won 2007 Giacomelli Award and was selected for 2008 Descubrimientos PhotoEspaña Award, Somewhere in Russia (2007 Chatwin Award) and Silent Beauty (Special Mention IPA 2008). In 2009 with her work Ferita Armena she received Special Mention at the Amnesty Internat. Human Rights Festival, was shortlisted as finalist at Ponchielli Award and was selected for Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan. In 2009 she also won Best Photographer Award at St. Petersburg Photovernissage and in 2010 she was named Author of the Year by FIAF.
She has been a member of the Synap(see) Collective since 2011. In 2012 she won first prize at the VIPA (Vienna International Photo Awards). In 2015 she won International Award Scanno dei Fotografi. She has taken part in several group and solo exhibitions in Italy and abroad. In 2016 her book Ferita Armena received the Bastianelli Award as Best Italian Photographic Book of the year.
In 2018 FIAF she was named Master of Italian Photography by FIAF.


You hate those trips to the doctor’s office. You feel judged, a misfit, never up to the task. The first person to recognize your disease is you, and it’s useless to say, everything’s OK, this isn’t a test, if you make a mistake no one is going to yell at you, no one will get mad.
Whole pieces of your existence are slipping away, you no longer recognize yourself in the mirror, you keep asking yourself: Who am I?
At times it’s hard to forgive you for having abandoned me, not even recognizing me as your daughter. You just smile, intuiting that my face is somehow one dear to you.
Your body has aged, mirroring your mental decline. In order to make it up the stairs you have to hold onto the railing very tightly with both hands, literally hoisting your weight up, step by agonizing step, with ever greater effort. You count the steps in order to regain a precious sense of control.
I have a lot of anger seething inside of me. I manage to hold it down by gritting my teeth. I’m afraid and so are you. I see the fear in your eyes, their increasingly vacant expression.
An invisible hand has erased all your memories, extinguished all your former radiance.
You are a victim of your forgetfulness.

Alzheimer’s is an invisible disease, a stealthy thief. Its first symptom is forgetfulness, difficulty in remembering even the most recent events.
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, a degenerative process that gradually compromises the cells of the brains, slowly but inexorably rendering the victim incapable of living a normal life, affecting the entire family which is generally at a total loss when it comes to managing such a heartbreaking situation.
On a worldwide level dementia affects some 47 million people, with an estimated 1,241,000 cases in Italy alone.
Unfortunately, the services available are inadequate and the levels of research still completely insufficient. 


Madame was Henriette Niepce, the first wife of the movie director Gillo Pontecorvo, the sister of the famous Janine, one of the first female photographers, deceased in 2007. She was the great-granddaughter of Nicephore Niepce, recognized as the inventor of photography.  She allowed very few people to visit her. She suffered from a weak heart and had trouble walking. For over fifty years she preferred to live alone in the old family home, surrounded by vineyards, in Rully, in Burgundy, where time had stopped. She never went out; the windows were always closed and the dark rooms illuminated exclusively by lamps. She didn’t want any people in the house, not even a femme de ménage. She was very beautiful, as attested by the portraits done by her sister and published in her photographic books. She was a painter but hadn’t painted for many years. She was an inspired freedom fighter, combating side by side with her husband, Pontecorvo, participating in the anti-fascist resistance struggle in Italy.  I was able to meet her thanks to the good offices of her personal doctor, François, her guardian angel, and after several times I took photographs. 

Madame died on 8 September 2010 at the age of 94.