Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Coffee Table: Mario Giacomelli

There are not too many books out there that do justice to the work of Italian photographer Mario Giacomelli but this edition, aptly titled 'The Black Figure is Waiting for the White' is a comprehensive overview, that even in it's title, sums up the existential conundrums at work in Giacomelli's images.

While photographers like William Klein and Robert Frank have long held the limelight in the art world for their abrasive street photography of the 1950s, Giacomelli has flown somewhat under the radar for most of us. A self-taught photographer without regard for much of the technicalities of image making, his Wikipedia entry states: "At 13, he left high school, began working as a typesetter and spent his weekends painting. After the horrors of World War II, he turned to the more immediate medium of photography. He wandered the streets and fields of post-war Italy, inspired by the gritty Neo-Realist films of Vittorio De Sica and Roberto Rossellini."

With images that tap into the unconscious, rendered in ultra high-contrast black and white, Giacomelli may be seen as a Godfather figure to many modern stars of the black and white photography scene, photographers who choose to engage us with their Lynchian psychodramas and tortured souls such as Roger Ballen, Michael Ackerman and Jacob Aue Sobol.

There's not a lot of information to be uncovered about the man online but I did stumble across this interview by Frank Horvat.


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