Mussolini Giving Orders to Teruzzi, Commandant of the Fascist Militia

Artist: Felix H. Man (British (born Germany), Freiburg 1893–1985 London)

Date: 1931

Medium: Gelatin silver print

Dimensions: Image: 23.4 x 17.9 cm (9 3/16 x 7 1/16 in.)
Mount: 23.7 x 18.3 cm (9 5/16 x 7 3/16 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005

Accession Number: 2005.100.193


When Mussolini agreed to be trailed for a day by pioneering photojournalist Felix H. Man, the photographer was genuinely surprised. But as a former journalist, Mussolini understood the power of the media in modern political life, and he acknowledged existing official images of himself for what they were: stiffly posed, cold portraits that detracted from his desired persona as a "man of the people." The ideal candidate for altering this image, Man had established his reputation photographing candid moments in the lives of important and powerful people for the burgeoning German picture press.

For the essay from which this photograph is taken-"A Day in the Life of Mussolini"-Man amassed "slice-of-life" images like this one, which humanized Il Duce by presenting him in the course of his daily routine, as though unaware of the camera, in surroundings to which very few had access. The essay was published in picture magazines around the world and its play-by-play narrative format established a new and widely popular paradigm for photo-essays.