MARIO GIACOMELLI from the series: IO NON HO MANI CHE MI ACCAREZZINO IL VOLTO
Giacomelli was a self-taught photographer known for his bold compositions capturing life and land in southern Italy. He used innovative perspective and exposure techniques to frame landscapes and small village communities in and around his birthplace in Senigallia, creating surreal and often haunting images.
In 1960, Giacomelli was commissioned by the Catholic Church to document the lives of young priests in seminaries. Hispretini (little priests) are striking, poetic images that constitute his most celebrated work. The title, Lo non ho mani che mi accarezzino il volto, is derived from a poem written in 1948 by Father David Maria Turoldo called ‘There are no hands’, and invoked the ascetic solitude of the religious life. Giacomelli made the photographs at the seminary in Senigallia during the winter months, capturing and posing the young priests in a series of dynamic, high-contrast images, in most cases outside in the snow. The white of the snow provided Giacomelli with a ‘palette’ for the contrast of dark and light tones, which characterised much of his photography.