Moto Guzzi, the story behind the historical photos: the interview

The series of special articles made on the history of Moto Guzzi continues, which just this year, exactly on March 15th, was completed 100 years. A reality that has meant a great deal for the territory, and we will discover different aspects of it together in the coming weeks.

A few days ago we published a very interesting and suggestive gallery of images, if you missed it we suggest you go and take a look. For the realization of the photo news, we met Carlo Zuccoli who, together with Carlo Borlenghi, is the photographer author of the shots of the exhibition “The 100 years of the Eagle”, dedicated to the myth of Mandello del Lario. We promised to reveal a few more secrets, and here we are with another interesting excerpt from the exclusive interview.

Did you carry out the entire project for the exhibition yourself?

“No, me and Carlo Borlenghi, with the support of the Municipality of Mandello del Lario”.

Looking at the photographic exhibition, one of my first curiosities, and not only mine, was: where do these splendid historical black and white shots come from?

“It all began in the seventies, in the initial period of our career. We had the opportunity to access the Moto Guzzi Photo Archive. Let’s not forget that, in the various ownership steps of the company, the same was most likely destroyed or unfortunately lost, to date we do not know well. In those years when we were still young, we were able to enter the Archive and re-photographed some images that they showed us [straordinario! Da qui arrivano gli scatti in bianco e nero]. We certainly couldn’t take the photos home and therefore we ‘saved’ some of the material that no longer exists today, without being fully aware of it at that moment ”.

And when did you think back to these photographs, so beautifully rich in history?

“When we started talking about the Centennial last year, we were in full lockdown; we had time to think about new projects, creativity and the desire to do took over. And so I got the idea of ​​doing something on the Moto Guzzi, I immediately told Borlenghi, we went to take those wonderful old photos, starting right there, from the history of the Archive we had in our hands. Looking back at them, we realized how splendid they were, in many ways, especially for the meaning they carry. A bit like in your thesis, the social issue emerges and not just that linked to the company’s production. And we must say that they are beautiful images, of great artistic value “.

A historical photo from the Archive: Carlo Guzzi observes the Bicilindrica 500

In addition to the photographic exhibition, you have actually made a book. Quite right?

“Yes, actually we started from that. We clearly needed an editor, and we decided to contact Cinquesensi (she is from Lucca, but the owner is from the lake, and knows many things about our territory). Speaking with them, the project expanded. Together we thought of adding the ‘current photographic part’, therefore the Moto Guzzi set in our places, with photos of our days, both using vintage motorcycles as protagonists and modern models. We live in a spectacular place, we have chosen the most suggestive locations and we have organized this photo shoot “.

I guess it was a tough job, considering the locations chosen and the fact that you had to move the bikes.

“Really very demanding, because clearly we had to physically bring the bikes to the right place, on the right day, with the right light. We treated them, as we are used to doing for our work, as the main subject, as if they were our real models, and then we worked hard to highlight them in the best possible way. I’m biased, but the result, in my opinion, was formidable “.

But whose are the bikes we see in the photos? I’m curious.

“We have found a very wide collaboration on the part of the collectors who have lent us their bikes: it is not easy to move a historic bike, with an extreme value, kept like a jewel, and make it available for the project. They even transported them to us making us find them, most of the time, already at their destination. The owners also came along with their bikes, they assisted us and worked with us, it was very pleasant “.

Moto Guzzi, sculpture in Mandello del Lario

Moto Guzzi, sculpture dedicated to Carlo Guzzi in Mandello del Lario

What role has the Municipality of Mandello del Lario played, which has always promoted the history of Moto Guzzi in a loud voice?

“Very important, in fact, the great collaboration of the Administration should not be neglected. They were the first to whom we presented the project. The Municipality has offered to create and make available the structures useful for the realization of our exhibition. When we presented it, we had in mind a structured communication plan, which included the photo exhibition, the book and a targeted marketing and communication action in support of what could become a global project. A job that no longer involved just Moto Guzzi, Mandello and our small territory, but the entire shore of the lake, to which Moto Guzzi has given a lot over the years. This is why the Municipality believed in it and financed the initiative. He provided us with the physical supports, the structures were made especially for us. The Administration immediately accepted our project. We believe that the result is already great as it is, supported by the fact that it all started in times of Covid. This is also why we decided to organize the outdoor exhibition, also illuminated in the evening, with a photovoltaic system. A sort of important and evocative motorcycle street furniture, in all the places where we have installed it in recent months “.

What do you think is the strong point of this exhibition?

“People like the exhibition dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Eagle because it tells about Moto Guzzi, and the well-being that the company has brought. The panels are very large and being double-sided [molto originali], on the one hand in color and on the other in black and white, they create a real path for the visiting user. It has been highly appreciated everywhere, in all the municipalities where we have installed it, including Mandello, Colico, Dervio, Bellano, Lecco and, to a lesser extent, Lierna, Dorio, in short, almost all of our area. This also drove the book, which has more images [la mostra è composta da 50 fotografie, 25 pannelli con altrettante foto a colori da un lato e altre 25 in bianco e nero dall’altro]”.

The photographers Carlo Zuccoli and Carlo Borlenghi

The photographers Carlo Zuccoli and Carlo Borlenghi for “The 100th anniversary of the Eagle”

Thanks to Carlo Zuccoli Fotostudio Zuccoli e Associati of Mandello del Lario, a Carlo Borlenghi (site), to the Mayor and the Municipal Administration, always at the forefront when it comes to Moto Guzzi. The exhibition these days is in Milan, in Piazza Città di Lombardia (from 3 to 12 November). The book, which we will discuss shortly, is on sale on the Cinquesensi Editore online store.

Source: Virgilio Motori by

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