Documentary showcases gifted Sicilian photographers

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A visual love letter to the culture and landscape of Sicily, Sergio Gianfalla’s documentary “Sicily in Photographs” features images captured by a few of the island’s most renowned photographers, including Angelo Pitrone, Melania Messina and Mauro D’Agati, plus the stories behind them.

The film begins with the photographers talking about what first sparked their interest in the craft and then what fueled their passion to master it. We are then taken through the Sicilian countryside for a firsthand look at the natural landscape that has captured their imaginations through the years.

“The calling of the lens around here has been irresistible, and it seems that the landscape itself cannot help but pose,” the narrator says.

The photographers talk about Sicily’s enchantment as seen through their lenses and those of their colleagues, and how the landscape has changed through the years. Pitrone talks about the generation of photographers that came before him, including Franco Fontana, now 90 years old, noted for the rich, vivid colors in his shots, and the late Mario Giacomelli, a pioneer in photojournalism, known for his humanistic portraits and distinct techniques, which included using soft focus, camera movement and slow shutter speeds.

“Obviously, the landscape changes in the photography of those years,” explains Pitrone. “It became a landscape with colors, also because in those years, we begin to see new photographers, for example, Franco Fontana, with very geometric landscapes that impressed me, and the landscapes of Mario Giacomelli.”

Although the film is steeped in the past, reflecting on photography that documented days gone by, there is also an emphasis on contemporary photographers and the stories behind their works. Some photos are haunting and mysterious, while others are full of color and personality, resembling oil paintings on canvas. Whatever the genre or time period, the stories are unique and give insight into the thoughts and visions of the artists who created them.

To view the documentary, click here.




About Jeannine Guilyard

Jeannine Guilyard is a longtime correspondent for Fra Noi and the Italian-American community newspaper in Rochester, N.Y. She has also contributed to the Italian Tribune of New Jersey, Italian Tribune of Michigan and L'Italo Americano of Southern California. Jeannine wrote and directed the short film "Gelsomina," which was selected for the Screenings Program of the 59th Venice Film Festival, and she won Emmy and Peabody awards as an editor of ABC's "Special Report" following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Jeannine is also a writer and editor for Italian Cinema Today, a publication and blog she founded in 2005 to bridge culture between New York and Italy. Follow her on Instagram at Italianartcinema and on Twitter at @ItaloCinema2day.

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