Rhubarb: Giacomo Brunelli

When Giacomo Brunelli sat down in front of me and told me he liked going and photographing animals on the streets I did wonder what I was in for. But as soon as he opened his box of prints I knew that here was something rather special.

(C) 2007, Peter Marshall
Giacomo meets Max Kandhola

They were small, intense black and white – mainly black – prints with black borders and rounded corners. It was an unusual presentation that entirely suited the work, with dogs with glowing eyes, snarling tiger-like cats; creatures, or parts of them emerging from darkness. His is a universe of menace and strangeness, finding rather more excitement in what is probably someone’s pet than in the pictures from exotic safaris. But while some of these animals may be pets, his images remind us they are not far from the wild, and they are often shown roaming the streets or countryside in a world their ‘owners’ have no knowledge of.

(C) 2006, Giacomo Brunelli
Untitled, 2006 (C) Giacomo Brunelli

Brunelli was born in Perugia (Italy) in 1977 and graduated in international communication in 2003. He was 24 when he first took an interest in photography, and the work on animals is a project he has been pursuing for two years. You can see his work on his web site at www.giacomobrunelli.com

Brunelli uses old Miranda 35mm SLR cameras made over 30 years ago and black and white film, and likes to work in the half-light to produce his powerful personal visions. Often the subject is picked out by a limited depth of field against a blurred and indistinct background, sometimes caught in a patch of light. Light, and lighting contrast, white against black, in some images is more important than sharpness. His printing is dark and sombre.

Brunelli is truly a hunter, catching the wild lives of these animals on the run, whether a dog prowling down an empty cobbled street or a cat in full flight.Some of the pictures show a more reflective mood, more the stalker. A peacock struts on a dusk (or dawn) street, its neck and head silhouetted against the glowing road, in the background the hint of a fence, a palm tree and the sinuous curve of a lamp post against the clouded sky. Another similar image (shown above) has a chicken stood across a mean street, the curve of its back rhyming with the out of focus trees against the stormy sky behind.

(C) 2006, Giacomo Brunelli
But more often he works by confronting, pushing his lens close, often to its closest point of focus, perhaps around half arm’s length, aggressive, almost touching his subject (and the pictures have a very tactile nature), forcing flight or fight from his subject, and photographing these reactions.

This project reveals a determination to express a personal view, to probe and explore a subject in his own way. Its an attitude that will I am sure make further projects by Brunelli equally worthy of attention.

Peter Gwyn Marshall

One Response to “Rhubarb: Giacomo Brunelli”

  1. […] whose work on animals knocked me out when I first saw it some years ago across a table in 2007 in Birmingham.  You can see that work, and other projects also on […]

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