This photographer's provocative images challenge the status quo

Story highlights

  • Photographer Oliviero Toscani is known for his controversial photography campaigns
  • His work addresses subjects such as sexuality, racism, war, capital punishment and AIDS

(CNN)For the last five decades, Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani has been challenging the status quo with his provocative images.

Over the years his oeuvre has been diverse, ranging from fashion editorials and album covers to social awareness campaigns.
Photographer exhibits 'Magnificent Failures'
Photographer exhibits 'Magnificent Failures'

    JUST WATCHED

    Photographer exhibits 'Magnificent Failures'

MUST WATCH

Photographer exhibits 'Magnificent Failures' 02:12
He's perhaps best known for his work with United Colors of Benetton, where he served as artistic director for more than 20 years.
    His controversial campaigns addressed subjects such as sexuality, racism, war, capital punishment and AIDS.
    Challenging the role of the advertising image by fusing commerce with social commentary, many of the campaigns drew criticism and censorship, and even incited lawsuits.
    For his most recent project, "Razza Humana" (The Human Race), Toscani took portraits of people from around the world to "capture the face of humanity."
    A new retrospective exhibition of his work in Milan, titled "Oliviero Toscani: More than 50 years of Magnificent Failures," showcases 400 of Toscani's powerful images and campaigns.
    Speaking to CNN at the exhibition, it's clear the 75-year-old photographer is still not afraid to voice his strong opinions, sounding off on freedom, migration and Donald Trump.
    "Very few people are free," he explained, "and the few people who are free, they have to work harder to show other people how to get to their freedom."
    "Oliviero Toscani: More than 50 years of Magnificent Failures" is on until April 28. at Whitelight Art Gallery in Milan.