Mario Giacomelli


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(1925–2000), self-taught, prolific, and influential Italian photographer. A typographer by trade, Giacomelli began photographing aged 30, taking as his principal subject matter the people and landscape of his native Senigallia. Influenced by Italian Neorealist cinema, he nevertheless found in his subjects something deeply personal. Giacomelli's approach to photography was essentially as an artist, yet in the 1950s and 1960s, when his influence was at its peak, photography had not yet been accepted as an art form in Italy; recognition of his achievements was therefore limited, and from necessity he continued working as a typographer. His photographic oeuvre is staggeringly varied, but his images all share a strong graphic quality and a concern with suffering and decay. Giacomelli once compared the wrinkles of an old woman with the furrows of a ploughed field; however, he did not join the two in romantic metaphor, but saw in both evidence of waste and depletion. Among his best-known works are nudes, images of the old people his mother cared for at a nursing home, and pictures of young priests, their robes black against fresh snow.

From The Oxford Companion to the Photograph in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Photography and Photographs.

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