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Mr. Giacomelli was born on Aug. 1, 1925, in a part of Italy whose old ways were passed from generation to generation. His father died when he was 9; his mother worked at Senigallia’s home for the aged and the young Mario often accompanied her there.
When he was 13 he became an apprentice in typography. As a young man, he worked as a typographer, painting on weekends and writing poetry. Inspired by the wartime movies of filmmakers like Fellini, Mr. Giacomelli taught himself still photography and found his art in the generally impoverished countryside. Serendipitously, the Italian photographer Giuseppe Cavalli had moved to Senigallia and was eager to form a club that would promote photography as art. In 1953 the Misa club was formed, with its officers including Cavalli as president and Mr. Giacomelli as treasurer
Mario Giacomelli, the Italian photographer perhaps best known for his joyous pictures of young priests reveling in a snowfall, died on Nov. 25 at home in Senigallia, a small town on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, where he had lived all his life and whose farmlands and people were the subjects of his spare, often darkly expressionist work. He was 75.
The cause was cancer, said Davide Faccioli of the Galleria Photology in Milan, who represents him.
A self-taught photographer, Mr. Giacomelli had a poet’s eye for the startlingly abstract order man can impose on nature and a poet’s understanding of the great disorder that is the human condition. Among his memorable images is one sometimes known as ”The Scanno Boy,” part of the 1957-59 series of pictures that Mr. Giacomelli took in Scanno, an impoverished town in the Abruzzi region of central Italy. Framed by elderly women in black, the boy is set apart by what John Szarkowski, former director of the department of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, has described as ”the halo of the worn footpath.” With all the faces blurred except for the boy’s, the picture is dreamlike and in its stark dichotomy — youth surrounded by old age — could almost be a reprise of the artist’s boyhood