Photobook of the Month – Mario Giacomelli – Under the Skin of Reality

_dsc8901Back in 2015 with this book that seems to have rather passed unnoticed and yet is a real jewel.
Like the so-called « book poor », Mario Giacomelli could be described as a « photographer poor », as his concerns were far removed from the technicality of the devices. What interested him above all was the poetry which emerged from the moments photographed, and, above all, how he could capture them, not as a decisive instant but as an emotion.

Many of his works are known to us, such as « Verra la morte e avra i tuoi occhi » (Death will come and it will have your eyes), a series in which he depicts the approach of death in Italian mouroirs, or « Io non ho mani che mi accarezzino il volto » (there are no hands to caress my face) which shows us young seminarians who devote themselves to a form of ballet in the snow, amazed by so much grace. And one could thus cite many more of his wonderful series as he was a prolix photographer.

Since his death in 2000, the whole of his photographic work is preserved in the “Mario Giacomelli Archives in Sassoferato”, in an old farmhouse surrounded by the landscapes that he has so much photographed. These archives also include numerous manuscripts and other notes that allow a much better understanding of his work. Thus, this book was born, not as a final compilation of his work, but rather as a re-reading of the fundamental themes that guided his entire photographic approach.

His photographic quest was above all a quest for signs, a constant attention to the small details that seem so insignificant, but which qualify the thickness of the moments. This book resumes his experiments, his attempts, his tries, in his incomparable style of contrasts with blacks and whites from which have almost totally disappeared the intermediate values. Pages after pages, one discovers how his series fed his plastic researches, and reciprocally … And how not to find a certain similarity, including a factual one, with the works that Robert Frank made in Nova Scotia.

There is some Fellinian views, also in these photographs, when he stages performances worthy of “La Strada”, heads without body, emerging from landscapes with canvas and crows …

What he says about his work is probably the best summary : « My approach is based on a meditation between reality and fantasy. These images were desired and subsequently created, with thought being captured as a sign of an inner movement. »

Originally published in 2011 by 24 ORE Cultura srl : Mario Giacomelli – Sotto la pelle del reale.
English edition published in 2015 by Schilt Publishing : Mario Giacomelli – Under the skin of reality
More info:

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“Photobook of the Month” is curated by Christer Ek (Christophe Le Toquin) of “Who needs another photo blog“, a blog where he shares some thoughts about photography. Christer is a French photographer and also a photobook collector.

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