Giacomelli’s “miraculous” black and white photographs – an exhibit in Rome

On March 23rd 2016, a splendid retrospective dedicated to the great photographer Mario Giacomelli (Senigallia 1925-2000) opened in Rome. It is titled “The Black Figure Is Waiting for the White” (like the beautiful book published by Contrasto in 2009: 278 black-and-white images accompanied by texts by Christian Caujolle, Goffredo Fofi, Alessandra Mauro, Paolo Morello and Ferdinando Scianna, among others).

The retrospective is produced by Fondazione Forma per la Fotografia in collaboration with Senigallia’s Giacomelli Archives, and will be on until next May 29th at the Museum of Rome in Palazzo Braschi.

It is a great opportunity to see many of the famous series created by Giacomelli, who was one of the most important and innovative figures in the history of Italian photography: two hundred photos, all in their original format and signed by the author, ranging from the early 1950s on the beaches of Senigallia to the “pretini” (“little priests”) made famous by “I Have No Hands to Caress My Face” (1961-63).

There are reportages on Senigallia’s nursing home (“Death Will Come and Will Have Your Eyes”, 1964), as well as on Lourdes, Scanno and the peasants of “The Good Earth”.

In addition to the ineffable landscapes in Marche, the exhibition includes beautiful series focused on Giacomelli’s favorite poems.

A wonderful legacy from a master of black and white, an artist who was “capable of miracles”, in the words of one of his illustrious colleagues, Franco Fontana: “I consider Mario Giacomelli’s shots as if they were in color. Black-and-white needs contrasts, tones, grays… and Giacomelli is able to multiply these hues, and to amplify the spectrum of possibilities offered by this style.”

Mario Giacomelli, mostra a Roma, Palazzo Braschi, “La figura nera aspetta il bianco” - Rome exhibition “The Black Figure Is Waiting for the White”

From "This Memory I Would Like to Tell" (2000). Senigallia © Archivio Mario Giacomelli, Senigallia

Mario Giacomelli, mostra a Roma, Palazzo Braschi, “La figura nera aspetta il bianco” - Rome exhibition “The Black Figure Is Waiting for the White”

Mario Giacomelli's portrait by Guido Harari. 1999 ©Guido Harari/Contrasto

Mario Giacomelli, mostra a Roma, Palazzo Braschi, “La figura nera aspetta il bianco” - Rome exhibition “The Black Figure Is Waiting for the White”

Mario Giacomelli, “The Black Figure Is Waiting for the White”, Contrasto, Milan 2009

Giacomelli’s “miraculous” black and white photographs – an exhibit in Rome

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