Il Corpo del Capitano (The Captain’s Body)

by Marco P. Valli Luca Santese

In 2018, photographers Luca Santese and Marco P. Valli documented the birth of the so-called Third Republic in a critical-satirical way. After the end of the First Conte Government, their research focused on Matteo Salvini – the political leader of the Italian Lega – and center-right forces. His voters call him “The Captain”. Salvini’s propaganda style is highly innovative: he is constantly photographing himself, his daily life and his body, to come across as a ‘man of the people’.
With millions following him, Salvini reaches his public directly through social media.
“The Captain’s Body” relies on an organic and detailed documentation of Salvini’s activities that openly and radically hinders the way Salvini portrays himself. His likeable, colourful, “pop” aesthetics is opposed by a rigorous black and white, obscure and dystopic. Such an inversion doesn’t just concern the photographs’ style, but also their narrative sequence. At the beginning of the book, one might have the feeling that the project is truthfully and ironically documenting different perspectives of Salvini’s propaganda. However, the work transforms into a counter-propaganda, as Santese and Valli put forward their own imaginary storytelling: a definite response to the factious narrative that “the captain” often uses. Salvini has shown the ability to embody dozens of different roles: from “Padanian” to Italian nationalist, from family man to boyfriend, from gluttonous to supporter, from scraper driver to sweatshirt wearer, thus allowing the study of a multitude of bodies converging into one: the Captain’s Body.

Press and features

The Captains' Body - Fotografia giornalistica, comunicazione e potere nell'era digitale
Il Corpo del Capitano. Il progetto di Santese e Valli che ribalta l’estetica dei comizi salviniani by Maria Gaia Redavid
Il Corpo del Capitano: un Salvini a frammenti diventa una maschera grottesca by Simone Sbarbati
La prefazione di Filippo Ceccarelli al libro "Il corpo del Capitano" di Luca Santese e Marco P. Valli
Immortalare Salvini senza fargli pubblicità di Michele Smargiassi
Il corpo del Capitano - Conversazione con Luca Santese e Marco P.Valli
Il Corpo del Capitano, the photographic book by Luca Santese and Marco P. Valli
"Il linguaggio del corpo di Matteo Salvini? Erede di Mussolini, Craxi e Berlusconi"
Il Corpo del Capitano