Tano D'Amico was born in 1942 on the Sicilian island of Filicudi and remained there until the age of seven, when he moved with his parents to a Milan still torn by war. After classical studies at the Beccaria high school and attending the faculty of political science at the Cattolica - crucial years, in which a critical vision of the human and power mechanisms that govern our society takes shape, in 1966 he leaves for Friuli for the draft military, which he himself considered one of the key experiences of his life. In fact, during the fifteen months in the barracks, Tano meets and binds himself to young people labeled as “different” and consequently marginalized: illiterate, prisoners, islanders like him.
Back in Milan, he realizes that he cannot return to his previous life, and he moves to Rome, already in full social ferment in the months leading up to the fateful 1968. The active participation in the movements leads him, almost in spite of himself, on the difficult path of photography: the companions recognize the originality of his gaze, able to fully communicate the changes taking place, and entrust the visual part of their commitment to the Sicilian photographer. newspapers and magazines such as Potere Operaio, Ombre Rosse and above all Lotta Continua, with which he will collaborate until the final closure of the newspaper. Subsequently, his images will also find space on the other historic newspaper of the new Italian left, the manifesto. From his first shots until today, Tano D'Amico has chosen to focus on the most marginalized actors of the social scene - the unemployed and the homeless, children and mentally ill, prisoners and immigrants, and to continuously tell the battles of the different movements that contest the order on which the world in which we live is based. After the first reports dedicated to Sicily and Sardinia, he also traveled outside Italy: in the Ireland of the civil war, in the Greece of the colonels, in Francoist Spain, in Portugal during the Carnation Revolution, and several times in Palestine. In the eighties and nineties he will then go to Somalia, Bosnia, Chiapas and the United States. His peculiar sensitivity, perceived as a defect as a young man, becomes a distinctive trait of his creative and professional career, during which he manages to meet even apparently distant worlds: like that of Joseph Beuys, the great conceptual artist of which Tano documents exclusive in 1981 the “Earthquake” happening at Palazzo Braschi in Rome; or like the Catholic one, who calls him to illustrate the new catechism for young people with images of him and to collaborate with the weekly Il Sabato.
Like most of the Italian photo-repoters of his generation, Tano D 'Amico did not introduce himself and was not recognized as an artist, to be studied and proposed as such in museums and private galleries. In the exhibition projects as well as in the editorial projects carried out up to now, his name has remained mostly linked to the various protagonists of his images: the young people of '77, the pacifists, the women, the gypsies ... The choice was therefore completely innovative. by Francesco Bonami to include the work of Tano D'amico (and that of another great militant photographer: Letizia Battaglia) in the Italics exhibition. Italian art between tradition and revolution 1968-2008 (Venice, Palazzo Grassi, 2008). Among his most recent and easily available books on the market, we remember: The Black Jubilee of the Gypsies, Editori Riuniti, 2000; A story of women. The women's movement from the 1970s to the no global years, Intra Moenia, 2003; The sweet wing of dissent. Figures and faces beyond the clichés of violence, Intra Moenia, 2004; It is 77, Manifestolibri, 2007; We just wanted to change the world. Photographic novel of the 70s by Tano D'Amico, Intra Moenia, 2008; What memories are made of. Time and light of a street photographer, Postcart, 2011. Never deluded and never given up, irreducible and perhaps romantic, Tano still continues his work as a photojournalist, his dense and passionate research on the charm and hope of the least.