The collection consists of 667 black-and-white and color photographic prints by Italian photographer Paola Agosti documenting social change, political movements, and daily life in Italy, South America, Cuba, and the United States.
Agosti’s photographs of Italy depict the feminist movement and women’s rights organizations Movimento di Liberazione della Donna and Unione Donne Italiane in the 1970s and 1980s, the gay rights collective Fronte Unitario Omosessuale Rivoluzionario Italiano in 1976, women factory workers in Northern Italy in 1983, and the decline of traditional peasant society in rural Piedmont during the 1970s and 1980s. The collection also includes photographs of Piedmontese immigrants in Argentina in the late 1980s and 1990s, and images documenting social movements in Chile after the 1970 election, such as protests by the Mapuche people. There is a small selection of images taken in Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. Other photographs show women in Cuba in 1995, cityscapes across the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, Black residents of Roxbury, Boston, and political demonstrations at the 1972 Democratic National Convention. Notable subjects in the collection include Italian gay rights activist Mario Mieli, Italian writer Nuto Revelli, Cuban politicians Fidel Castro and Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado, Chilean President Salvador Allende, and American poet Allen Ginsberg.
All photographs were assigned a catalog code number from Y1 to Y667, which are labeled on the verso of prints and listed in the collection inventories. Photographs are signed by Agosti and inscribed with manuscript captions in Italian. While the original images were taken from 1968 to 1995, the collection contains both vintage prints and artists’ proofs printed by Agosti from 2016 to 2020. Materials are dated 1970 to 2020.