Friday, October 1, 2010

countdown to Halloween (Mario Giacomelli)

I got an early start on this with yesterday's post, but today - October 1st - it's official: Let the countdown to Halloween begin! Below are two works by the Italian photographer, Mario Giacomelli (1925-2000). Many of his starkly poetic black and white photographs evoke feelings of mystery, loneliness, alienation and decay.

photograph by Mario Giacomelli from the series The Theatre of Snow / Il teatro della neve (The series was created in 1984 and 1986 from photographs taken in Senigallia, Italy between 1954 and 1986.)

"The series contains a photograph of pieces of cloth spread out on a bramble hedge, taken in the 1950s. As if on a specifically created stage-set, the photographer suggests transparencies and the play of an unearthly light; a human presence is barely hinted at by the folds in the cloths which make them look like ghosts."

(quote from Mario Giacomelli by Alistair Crawford, published by Phaidon Press Inc., New York, NY © 2001)

detail of photograph (above) by Mario Giacomelli

Giacomelli's photograph not only gives form to ghostly figures, but I think it entwines imagery of late Autumn (and its associations of harvest, melancholy and decline) with the Danse Macabre:

The Nun and the Witch, Grant danse macabre des femmes (Paris: Guy Marchant, 1491), Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale

(source: The Danse Macabre of Women: ms. fr. 995 of the Bibliothèque nationale
, edited by Ann Turkey Harrison; with a chapter by Sandra L. Hindman, published by The Kent State University Press, Kent, Ohio, © 1994)

photograph by Mario Giacomelli (an early work taken in Senigallia, Italy in 1969)

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