About Leonardo Cendamo

Leonardo Cendamo was born on 6 May 1939 in Sannicandro Garganico (Foggia) and lived in Foggia until the age of 22. From his early youth he worked at a variety of jobs but when he was 19, encouraged by some friends, he returned to his studies, completing his middle school education and following up with three years of commercial school. 
In 1962, for family reasons, he left Foggia to move to Milan, prompted by the need to experience a different social and cultural milieu.
He took on the inevitable series of jobs in order to survive and at the same time he attended "L'Umanitaria", a specialist school where he took an advance course in photography. After two years of assiduous study he was offered a post as assistant to the renowned photographer Franco Scheichenbauer.
Their working relationship lasted a year and provided Cendamo with an opportunity to broaden his experience on an international level, in both a professional and a human sense.
Subsequently Cendamo received a call from Renato Gozzano, who availed himself of the young man's services for his reportages in "Style Life" magazine.
Marco Glaviano, then a photographer based in Milan, asked Cendamo to work with him, but Cendamo turned down this offer.
In 1968 Agenzia Twenty-one International invited Cendamo to work on the compilation of photographic portfolios for top models and on the collection of images for advertising and publicity. In the same period, the recently established weekly magazine "II Chi" called in Cendamo to do a reportage on "Paris by night" (cabaret personalities such as Yves Montand, the audience at the Olympia theatre, the clochards along the Seine).
While in Paris he was a guest of F. Brofferio and Bob Smith, who was Helmut Newton's friend and model.
One evening the great photographer and his wife June came to dinner and so Cendamo got to know Newton, with whom everyone spent a most agreeable evening among friends.
Cendamo experienced the May uprising in Paris (1968) at first hand, and this cost him a spell in prison for trying to photograph a clash between students and the police.
On his return to Milan he worked with Mario Santana, another great photographer of that period. As well as Cendamo's teacher, Santana became his patron.
Then the renowned American photographer Alberto Rizzo asked Cendamo to work with him, and they collaborated very closely for two years. Immediately after that, Cendamo received a call from Giorgio Armani, an event that marked his rise towards the upper echelons of Milanese society.
In 1971 the magazine "Progresso Fotografico" published a collection of fashion photographs and shots of famous personalities taken by Cendamo.
In 1976 Rizzo invited him to New York, where he had a series of fruitful encounters with Richard Avedon and other highly esteemed photographers.
In 1978 the "Corriere del la Sera" invited Leonardo Cendamo to do a reportage on Milan's artists' quarter, the Brera district.
In 1979 Cendamo went to New York at his own expense, before returning to Milan where he held a photographic exhibition whose theme was emptiness. It was made up of shots of people taken from behind.
The exhibition established Cendamo as one of the most committed photographic artists of the day. The "II Diaframma" gallery invited him to hold an exhibition there in 1982.
Thanks to Mario Santana, in 1970 Cendamo opened his studio in Viale Majno, 40, in Milan, where he worked until 1986.
Since 1982 all of Leonardo Cendamo's work has been managed by the Grazia Neri Agency. 
Today he lives in Barni (Como).


September 1982: exhibition titled "II Vuoto", Palazzo Dogana, Foggia, sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs of the Regional Government of Foggia.

November 1989, exhibition titled "Gioco e Tecnica" at the International Biennial event "Torino Fotografia".

November 1990, exhibition titled "Gioco e tecnica" at the Feltrinelli bookshop, via A. Manzoni, 12, Milan.

17 January to 13 April 1996, "L'attimo fermato" - Portraits of personalities from the worlds of Italian and international cinema, at the Cinema Zero: Galleria Zeroimage, the Great Hall of the Centra Studi, Pordenone.

June 1997 Galleria Zeroimage, Pordenone: reportage made on the set of the film by Fabio Carpi, "Nel profondo paese straniero".

Forthcoming publications include a book of portraits of famous writers.

A photographic exhibition of portraits of authors is scheduled to be held in Lecce (Puglia) in 2006.