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Giacomelli, Mario

Mario Giacomelli (1925 – 2000) was an Italian self-taught photographer. 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, and influenced by the renowned Italian photographer Giuseppe Cavalli, eventually developing a style characterized by bold compositions and stark contrasts.

In 1955 he was discovered in Italy by Paolo Monti, and beginning in 1963, became known in the USA through John Szarkowski of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. One of Giacomelli's most iconic images, Scanno Boy (1957) is of a group of women walking towards the observer with only one single and central object in focus: a boy walking with his hands in his pockets. Szarkowski included the image in his book

Looking at Photographs (1973). Apart from Scanno, Giacomelli's most successful series are The Landscapes (1954-2000) and I Pretini (Little Priests) (1961-1963), a transcription of the everyday life of a group of young priests, resulted from documenting post-war Italian seminaries.

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