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SPARK | Jazz, the energy of the smile and friendship

paolo fresu omar sosa gustavo ovallesalessandra freguja

Jazz, the energy of the smile and friendship

2 August – 23 September 2022 

Italian Institute of Culture, 82 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh


Monday to Friday,

9:30am–1:30pm, 2:30–5:00 pm


If you have missed the exhibition during the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, please visit the Italian Institute of Culture where it will be held until 23rd of September.

The Italian Institute of Culture and Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival are proud to present Spark, “Jazz, the energy of the smile and friendship” an exhibition created by the Association of Italian Jazz Photographers.


The association of Italian Jazz Photographers (AFIJ), member of the Italian Federation of Jazz, is delighted to present this collective work dedicated to the ‘energy of the smile’ and of friendship in the jazz field.

Too often in this context, the photographs represent moments in which musicians are captured in their usual state, that is, whilst playing instruments or caught in moments of a pause whilst on stage. This excludes situations that, in our opinion, are equally interesting, if not the main focus. These photographs highlight these ‘other moments’ in a culmination of stimulating photographic investigation.

Furthermore, we consider the situation that has arisen in relation to events as a result of COVID-19 restrictions , meaning that there was a momentous change for all scheduled activities and events, especially in the summer periods, where unfortunately cancellations of concerts and festivals occurred.

For this reason, we at AFIJ created this exhibition that would reinvigorate reasons for solidarity, such as that of friendship and positive forces like the energy of a smile. In doing this we attempt to overcome these recent difficult, not easily understood moments with the strength of images, where we consider what the future will be in the field of entertainment.

Photographers from all over Italy have contributed to realising the themes in this exhibition; from Sicily to Friuli Venezia Giluia.

We have tried to recreate a path where a value such as that of friendship becomes a symbol of a return to a change that will take place within the foundation of society, and can be measured and expressed by the people and artists. Photography, during difficult moments, like those we are living now, help us to understand and to find paths that help us to look to the future, which we surely need.

(Pino Ninfa – President of AFIJ)


About the Italian Association of Italian Jazz Photographers

In 2019 the Association of Italian Jazz Photographers was founded. The Association begins with the idea that photographers are a fundamental part of the culture of jazz. The image has always told the story, often better than many words. Jazz music is no exception.

All of us know the story of jazz, not just from the music but also from the images that have told it. Photographers like Herman Leonard, William Clazton, Francis Wolff, William Gottlieb have created a historical iconography that sits alongside its protagonists. This iconography is an essential testimony in understanding the evolution of this musical culture over the years.

For this reason, Jazz Photographers strongly believe in the necessity of being a team, to give dignity to the role of the photographer inside the world of jazz and in the environment of media and communication. This dignity for the role was lost over the years, often for reasons that had nothing to do with the capability of the photographers and the quality of their work.

The Association is founded with the conviction that forming collective groups of creatives is necessary to establish new energy, to carry out and build collective projects and to create new ways of showing jazz photography. We work to involve young photographers that intend to move into this world and help them to navigate the world of photography with seriousness, dignity and a spirit of collaboration.

Translation from Italian into English by Sarah Calmus and Anna Fennel Hughes.

Paolo Fresu-Omar Sosa-Gustavo Ovalles – Photographer: Alessandra Freguja


  • Organizzato da: IIC in Edinburgh, EJBF, I-JAZZ and AFIJ