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Mario Giacomelli, Photographer - His Marche Origins

Luigi Silvestri

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Mario Giacomelli, one of the foremost photographers of the 20th century, was born in 1925, in Senigallia in the Marche region where he lived his whole life.

Shy, reserved, frank, a good friend, one who loved his homeland, he linked his photography to poetry, always looking for the profound roots of every existence. “I don’t anything about technique. I see something happening in front of my eyes and inside me, I take my camera and I shoot”.

Scanno is a small mountain village in Abruzzo where the young Giacomelli shot a well-known series of photographs. “The contrast between cows, chicken and people, between white pathways and black figures is beautiful”.

Overall, what emerges is a world that is simple, intact, magical. In this famous shot, the women intentionally appear slightly out of focus, whereas the child is clearly defined in their midst. In 1962 he began his “Pretini” (“little priests”) series – I have no hands to caress my face – which are among the best known of his works.

Besides the playful interlude of the priests, the artist tried to also capture the existential suffering of those who had chosen a way of life made of rigor and personal solitude.

Giacomelli lived his life in a coastal city, but he was the son of farmers… and the land, with its deep furrows, remained in him and flowed in his veins, evident in the sharp geometry and fascinating metamorphosis of his work. “These photos came about when I understood that the earth is a great Mother. The earth is like the flesh of Man”.


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