Alfa Castaldi has been one of the key figures in italian fashion photography.
He started his carreer in the '50s as a reporter in post-war Milan where he worked in a close relationship with Ugo Mulas. The base was the 'Bar Giamaica' in Brera where all the artistic and literary intelligentia of the city used to gather in a sort of bohemian lifestyle.
Alfa was a sophisticated intellectual, coming out of a brilliant academic career in History of the Arts at the University of Florence where he studied with the great italian art critic Roberto Longhi of whom he had become the favourite student. But becoming a critic didn't appeal to him and soon he became fascinated by the editorial world and the new photographic reportage language. So he turned to photography and started to collaborate as a free lance with the major italian magazines of the time. In the late '50s he met Anna Piaggi and started working with her on fashion stories. They later married and worked together uninterruptedly till his death in 1995.
The great success of Alfa's photography is based on his fashion works and his portraits.
Nevertheless Alfa always retained a distinctive intellectual approach to photography that led him to cultivate many different kinds of photographic projects ranging from street photography to highly pictorial large format 'photocubist' images. That traced some sort of difference between him and the rest of the fashion photography scene. He was an outsider.
In all the events and celebrations held in the last ten years after his death Alfa has always been remembered for his culture and his "experimental approach" to photography but for some reason his personal researches remain mostly unknown and unpublished.
In this online database of his works we present a selection of his photographs, mostly reportage, portraits and personal projects. Fashion photographs are not online due to the difficulties of indexing the large amount of material but you can contact us with specific enquiries and we will search for you in the photo archives.
To contact the archives please send an email to
"Angeli e Demoni", Festival Foto, SAVIGNANO
"Mamme d’Italia", Fondazione Mazzotta, MILANO
"Italiani a Tavola", Fondazione Mazzotta, MILANO
"Un bacio, due baci", Fondazione Mazzotta, MILANO
"Su la testa", Fondazione Mazzotta, MILANO
"Lo Sguardo Italiano", Rotonda della Besana, MILANO
"Il fotogiornalismo in Italia 1945-2005: Linee di tendenza e percorsi", Fondazione italiana per la Fotografia, TORINO
"La motocicletta italiana", Fondazione Mazzotta, MILANO
"NeoRealismo", PhotoEspaña, MADRID
"Lo Sguardo Italiano", PARIGI
"NeoRealismo", Winterthur Fotomuseum, ZÜRICH
"NeoRealismo", Nederlands Fotomuseum ROTTERDAM
"NeoRealismo", Sala del Ayuntamiento, LOGROÑO
"NeoRealismo", PhotoGalicia, FERROL
"La moda scritta con la luce", Palazzo Arese Borromeo, MILANO
"NeoRealismo", Sala Santa Tecla, BARCELLONA
"Alfa Castaldi - Bar Jamaica", Bar Jamaica, MILANO
"Addio anni '70", Palazzo Reale, MILANO
Mia Image Art Fair, MILANO
"Compagnia di Stile Popolare", Si Fest, SAVIGNANO
"Vestire, creare, apparire, fotografare.", Ersel, TORINO
"Alfa Castaldi", Galleria Carla Sozzani, MILANO
"Alfa Castaldi - Sul Design", Design Library, MILANO
"NeoRealismo", Centro Internazionale di Fotografia, Scavi Scaligeri, VERONA
"Prove di Fotografia", Fondazione Mudima, MILANO
"Alfa Castaldi", Galleria Corso Como 10, SHANGHAI
"Alfa Castaldi - History and mistery in Paris graffiti", Duncan Miller Gallery, LOS ANGELES
"Alfa Castaldi", Galleria Corso Como 10, BEIJING
"I mass moda. Fatti personaggi dell'Italian Look", Adriana Mulassano e Alfa Castaldi, G. Spinelli & C, Firenze.
"L'Italia della Moda", Silvia Giacomoni e Alfa Castaldi, Gabriele Mazzotta Editore, Milano.
"Appearances: Fashion Photography Since 1945", Martin Harrison, Jonathan Cape/Random House, London.
"Mamme d’Italia", Tatiana Agliani e Marianella Sclavi, Mazzotta Fotografia, Milano.
"Italiani a Tavola", Michele Smargiassi e Guido Vergani, Mazzotta Fotografia, Milano.
"Un bacio, due baci", Mariangela Mianiti e Roberto Mutti, Mazzotta Fotografia, Milano.
"Su la testa", Tatiana Agliani e Isabella Bossi Fedrigotti, Mazzotta Fotografia, Milano.
"L’immagine fotografica 1945-2000", Storia d’Italia Annali 20, Einaudi, Torino.
"Il fotogiornalismo in Italia 1945-2005: Linee di tendenza e percorsi", Fondazione italiana per la Fotografia – La Stampa, Torino.
"Lo Sguardo Italiano", Fondazione Pitti Immagine, Firenze.
"NeoRealismo - La nuova immagine in Italia 1932-1960", a cura di Enrica Viganò, Admira, Milano.
"Italia 1945-2005", Hachette/Contrasto, Milano.
"La motocicletta italiana. Un secolo su due ruote tra storia, arte e sport", a cura di Adalberto Falletta, Mazzotta, Milano.
"Jamaica. Arte e vita nel cuore di Brera", a cura di Uliano Lucas, Tatiana Agliani, Sergio Dangelo, Emilio Tadini, Rizzoli, Milano.
"Addio anni '70 - Arte a Milano 1969-1980", Comune di Milano, Milano.
"Isola Isole Insulae", Remo Salvadori, Johan & Levi Editore, Milano.
"Alfa Castaldi", Edizioni Carla Sozzani, Milano.
In this online database we present a selection of Alfa's works, mostly reportage, portraits and personal projects. Fashion photographs are not online yet due to the difficulties of indexing the large amount of material but you can contact us with specific enquiries and we will search for you in the photo archives.
To contact the archives please send an email to
The images displayed for search and reference purposes on this site have been produced in the '90s with a low definition/high compression optical system (Sony Mavica Floppy on lightbox) and may present loss of definition, halos or vignetting.
There is no relation whatsoever between the quality of the reference image and the quality of the original image, all images presented in this site have been individually checked and are guaranteed in terms of definition and image quality.
High resolution final scans that may be supplied to you are produced using an Imacon Flextight III drum scanner.
All photographs in this website are protected by copyright.
INTRODUCTION: conditions according to which the client will be entitled to use the images available on the on-line archive are limited by this agreement and are defined before use.
The photos and /or texts presented on this site are not free of rights and they are protected by copyright.
Agreement between Archivio Alfa Castaldi and THE CLIENT for the purchase of photographs reproduction rights from the Archivio Alfa Castaldi on-line database.
Each photo or reportage and or text is subject to protection under intellectual property legislation.
Due to the nature of the images contained in the Archivio Alfa Castaldi On-line database, some of them may be subjected to restrictions, especially those depicting people either famous or unknown, in public as well as in private situations, living or dead. These restrictions will be clearly indicated and should be followed strictly.
Archivio Alfa Castaldi expressly prohibits the use of photos from the on-line database for non-editorial use, requiring for any usage other than editorial a previous written authorization from Archivio Alfa Castaldi.
1. All photographs from Archivio Alfa Castaldi On-line database are protected by copyright. The heirs of Alfa Castaldi hold property of copyright and Archivio Alfa Castaldi/Blue Box Sas holds exclusive right to sell reproduction rights of these photographs.
2. The above pictures (as defined in point 1) can be delivered to THE CLIENT in the following ways:
- through the direct connection between THE CLIENT and the on-line archive made possible by the use of a password.
- via e-mail
- via direct connection or FTP
- through CD-ROM
EVERY SINGLE IMAGE CAN BE USED ONLY ONCE FOR ONE PUBLICATION, IN ONE LANGUAGE AND ONE USER WHATEVER THE MEDIUM.
THE CLIENT IS NOT ALLOWED TO INSERT IMAGES IN ANY INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL COMPUTER NETWORK, OR, ONCE PRINTED, TO DISTRIBUTE OR USE AN IMAGE WITHOUT PREVIOUS AUTHORISATION BY ARCHIVIO ALFA CASTALDI.
3. When selling rights, Archivio Alfa Castaldi gives only non-exclusive reproduction rights, which belongs to the photographer and his heirs. Archivio Alfa Castaldi does not handle the rights to the people, subjects, or trademarks shown in the pictures.
It will be care and client's responsibility to obtain release by the photographed people, subjects and trademark.
4. Pictures can be sent in low (to a maximum of 1MB) or high resolution (to a maximum of 40 MB).
a) In the first case (low resolution), pictures can only be used for internal use and to create layouts. Any other use is prohibited.
When the low-resolution pictures have no further use, THE CLIENT agrees to destroy the digital image.
If THE CLIENT should decide to use the images requested for layout, economic conditions which vary according to the characteristics of use should be defined before use: newspaper, magazine, circulation, duration of rights,
countries of distribution of product, site, size of image...
b) only high-resolution images can be used and only once and in one product.
IN ANY CASE THE CLIENT UNDERTAKES TO DESTROY ALL IMAGES OBTAINED IN HIGH AS WELL AS IN LOW RESOLUTION (OR COPIES EVENTUALLY PRODUCED DURING PRE-PRODUCTION), WITHIN 90 DAYS FROM THE DATE IN WHICH THE PICTURE/S WERE RECEIVED FROM ARCHIVIO ALFA CASTALDI.
5. INVOICING: invoices will be issued by Blue Box Sas on the last day of the month the image was ordered to Archivio Alfa Castaldi. Deliveries are ment as final sales, regardless of the actual use of the image.
Pricing for picture varies according to use. Payment will be made at reception of invoice.
6. THE CLIENT undertakes to use the picture/s in total respect of the context in which the pictures were taken and according to captions.
Archivio Alfa Castaldi is not responsible for eventual moral or economic consequences that come from improper use of pictures, in particular for defamation uses or uses that violate the privacy rights of the people photographed.
THE CLIENT will release Archivio Alfa Castaldi from all moral or economic consequences derived from above specified improper uses.
7. The client undertakes to send copy or tear sheets of the products or publications in which images from the Archivio Alfa Castaldi were used.
8. No image in the Archivio Alfa Castaldi On-line Database is model-released, except the ones clearly identified. It will be care and responsibility of the client to obtain release from the people, the subjects, and the brands photographed or from the people who own the rights in relation to the photographed objects or people.
If the client should need to use the picture for commercial usage, he will need to receive a written authorization from Archivio Alfa Castaldi after providing written documentation attesting having obtained release by the photographed people, subjects or trademarks.
9. The client undertakes to mention the complete credit line (Alfa Castaldi /alfacastaldi.com) next to each published picture.
Omission of credit line will authorize Archivio Alfa Castaldi to bill 100% additional fee to the agreed cost of single picture.
10. It is clear that Archivio Alfa Castaldi pictures cannot be altered, cropped or manipulated in any way. Archivio Alfa Castaldi will not be responsible for any moral or economic consequences deriving from any unauthorized intervention on the photographs.
11. Any controversy will be handled in accordance with the laws of Italy and parties hereto submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Italian Courts.
As defined by the Italian Privacy Code (art 13 D.Lgs. 196/2003) you are hereby informed that the use of this site implies the submittance of personal data.
The treatment of your personal data will take place in the offices of our Company, Blue Box Sas, by qualified personnel with security measures in order to prevent loss of data, uncorrect or illegal use or unauthorized access to the data.
We provide you with online access to your data and with the possibility to change your personal information anytime trough the 'Your profile' link in this page. In addition, as stated by art. 7 of the above mentioned law, you can ask for removal of your personal data by writing to .
We will not share personal information with any other third parties without your permission, unless to: (i) respond to duly authorized information requests of governmental authorities; (ii) comply with any law, regulation, subpoena, or court order, (iii) help prevent fraud or to enforce or protect the rights and properties of Archivio Alfa Castaldi.
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Via San Donnino, 28
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