On May 16, 2023, celebrity photographer Filbert Kung gave Milan the opportunity to see the world through his lens with his one-day-only exclusive solo exhibit, Blinded by the Light. Kung has worked with magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and NOW Magazine; designers like Michael Cinco, Oliver Tolentino, and Ezra Santos; and notable celebrities like Chris Evans, Maggie Q, Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach, and Brian May of the band Queen.
Held at the magnificent Hotel Principe di Savoia in the Sala Degli Specchi (The Mirrors Room), Kung’s exhibit was nothing short of impressive. Upon arriving at the event, guests were greeted warmly by ornate ceilings, neutral-toned furnishings, and luxurious curtains that welcomed the bright light of the summer sunset. As each member of the swarming crowd found their seats, they were graced with a projector that displayed 16 of Kung’s most notable portraits, including images of singer-songwriter Lady Gaga; actor Pierce Brosnan; Mario Boselli, the senior adviser to the Made in Italy Fund and honorary chairman of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion; Ugo Cilento, the president of M Cilento & FLLO; Jody Brugola, the current president of his namesake company which manufactures hexagon socket head bolts; Simone Crolla, the head of the American chamber of commerce Italy; and Daniela Javarone, the godmother of the City Angels non-profit organization.
In this revolutionary exhibit, Kung plays with the irony of showing the souls and emotions of notable figures who are typically only known for their physical appearances and accomplishments. Kung’s artistry shines through in his range of portrait styles. In some images, he carefully juxtaposes brightly colored backdrops with notable figures dressed in edgy, all-black pieces. In another, he showcases the luxury of Dubai through high fashion styling, camels draped in colorful cloths, and models adorned with tasteful layers of precious jewelry. One of Kung’s other pieces features model Matteo de Vettori floating in a still body of water as faint ripples partially obscure his body while he stares in contemplation at the gently yellowing sky. Kung also showcases his talents in his signature black-and-white style that shows the serious and honest parts of his muses’ personalities.
With this exhibit, Kung crafts a reality wherein beauty exists in every moment of simplicity, and vibrancy can emerge from grayscale tones. As the buzzing crowd witnessed the wonder of Kung’s photography, they were transported to worlds that boasted eye-catching contrasts of lavish sophistication, understated humility, precariously calm contemplation, and bursts of supernova-like energy.
Blinded by the Light is Kung’s love letter to the art of photography, a creative outlet that he has called his safe space ever since his father introduced him to film photography. After a storied career of shooting for top celebrities, advertising campaigns, and global publications, this gorgeous exhibit celebrated his finely tuned eye for current trends, real emotions, and opportunities to create beauty from the mundane.