Symbol of cycling event “L’Eroica“, testimonial of “Etoile d’Argent”, a charity that collects funds to fight dystonia, and founder of the “Bicycle Museum” of Cosseria (SV).
Candido Cannavò called him an old man with a loose tongue, with an inner passion for cycling − above all historic cycling − and everything this sport represents.
His bike is a 1906’s Peugeot, very different from modern models in carbon fiber or titanium,and its weight is similar to the one of a gate, rather than a bike.
But this did not stop him from climbing all the major ascents of Giro d’Italia or going solo in Paris-Roubaix. In the days spent with him, the phone was constantly ringing, everyone was looking for Luciano for asking opinions about vintage bicycles, technical advices, and evaluations on rare historical vehicles. He has always been so kind to everyone and we saw this first-hand.
His curiosity and resourcefulness kept his spirit youth and going, not just physically but also mentally; during the photo session he did nothing but show us his collection of vintage bike photos, old newspapers with the old-school champions, especially Gino Bartali for whom he had a particular admiration. While visiting the bicycle museum he showed us a bulletin board containing historical relics related to the life of Tuscan champion: “The documents you see were carried by Bartali in a specially modified tubular pump.” Thanks to this system Bartali, pretending to train for Giro d’Italia saved the lives of hundreds of Jews by providing them new IDs and saving them from concentration camps.
Inside his garage, along with many disassembled frames and spare parts, he showed us his pride: a miniature of historic two wheels workshop with many tools now missing from cycling world − such as a strange tool used to repair wooden rims.
Luciano Berruti has been an icon for cycling fans. Everyone has seen his face on posters and publications related to the Eroica; he is an old-time gentleman and we wanted to portray him with a vintage technique: photography with wet collodion.
The wet collodion photography was extensively used from 1850 to 1900’s beginning, using a glass plate and chemical reagent solutions. This technique requires a few seconds of exposure, in which the person/object should stay still as much as possible. Another important feature is that it requires an almost immediately development in darkroom. Imperfections coming from collodion’s use give the shoots a sort of unique and particular look, that has nothing in common with digital photographs.