Oliviero Toscani – Holy Crap!
Oliviero Toscani (born 1942) is an Italian photographer, best-known worldwide for designing controversial advertising campaigns for Italian brand Benetton, from 1982 to 2000. Most of those advertising campaigns were actually institutionals for the brand, always composed of rather controversial photography, usually with only the company logo “United Colors of Benetton” as caption.
One of his most famous campaigns included a photo (by Therese Frare) of David Kirby dying of AIDS, lying in a Columbus, Ohio, hospital bed, surrounded by his grieving relatives. That picture was controversial due to its similarity to a pietà painting and because some thought the use of this image to sell clothing was exploiting the victim, though the Kirby family stated that they authorized the use and that it helped increase AIDS awareness.
Other advertisements included allusions to racism (notably one with three almost identical human hearts, which were actually pig hearts, with the words ‘white’, ‘black’, and ‘yellow’ as captions), war, religion and even capital punishment. In the early 1990s, Toscani co-founded the magazine Colors (also owned by Benetton) with American graphic designer Tibor Kalman. With the tagline “a magazine about the rest of the world”, Colors built on the multiculturalism prevalent at that time and in Benetton’s ad campaigns, while remaining editorially independent from Benetton.
In 2005, five years after his resignation from Benetton following the controversy surrounding the death row campaign, he sparked controversy again with his photographs for an advertising campaign for the men’s clothing brand ‘Ra-Re’. Their portrayals of men participating in homosexual behaviour angered groups such as the Catholic parents’ association Movimento Italiano Genitori, who called the pictures ‘vulgar’. The campaign came amidst ongoing debate in Italy about gay rights. Oliviero Toscani unsuccessfully stood as a candidate for parliament for the new Rose in the Fist party in the Italian general election held on 9 and 10 April 2006. In September 2007, a new campaign against anorexia was again controversial due to his shocking photography of an emaciated woman (Isabelle Caro).
The book “Cacas: The Encyclopedia of Poo’” is,…..uh, well,….it is unique, to say the least. But would we expect anything less from Toscani?!!!
From the moment we’re born to the moment we die, we produce it. It’s as natural as breathing. But many of us can’t bear to look at it, touch it or smell it. We dispose of it behind closed doors, flush it down clean white toilets, don’t mention it in polite company. It’s one of “civilized” society’s last taboos. Enough! It’s the world’s most underrated resource. We can cook with it, build with it, admire it, wear it. It’s unique (no two examples are alike). It’s as old as creation. It will never run out. It’s time to celebrate shit.
Cacas, the first ever encyclopedia of shit, is a project of Colors. The magazine about the rest of the world, Colors has been on sale bimonthly since 1992 in 80 countries worldwide, in 8 bilingual editions: English paired with Italian, Japanese, Croatian, German, Spanish, Greek, Russian and French. As is the case with every issue of Colors, this book explores a single theme. And, as is the case with the magazine, the book Cacas exists thanks to United Colors of Benetton.
– “All that glitters is not gold” Oliviero Toscani
— Explores 68 different types of animal shit from Antelope to Zebra
— A unique cultural anthropology about shit
— Features interesting and fascinating stories around the most natural thing of the world
Well,…you get the gist.