Stefano Marchionini is a photographer who has always engaged me by the range and quality of his work. Whether shooting in color or black-and-white, a very intimate and relatable quality comes across that never seems to dwindle after repeated viewings. Marchionini recently released a self-published book titled, I see around me tombstones grey, that focuses on his relationship with his parents after being away for an extended amount of time and the feeling of “home” that his parents bring to him, even when the physical locations of “home” may have changed.
The book is a strong testament to what smart editing and simple design can do to allow for images to speak for themselves and breathe. The pacing of the book is evenly spread between sequences that build to a sense of short-lived intimacy; short-lived, because as soon as one may start to feel a sense of nostalgia or love take form, a reminder of the fragility of life is suddenly thrown in. The finite quality of our relationships with those we love is a hard universal truth that Marchionini reflects upon throughout the book.
Conversely, the imagery often rejoices in the lighter and mundane moments between the photographer and his parents. An image titled, “my father in the garden,” shows Marchionini’s father working in a garden that seems to slowly engulf him despite all of his attempts at pruning. It is an action that seems important while doing but one that in the scope of things, really doesn’t matter as the garden will outlive us all. Subtle reflections like these build upon the theme of the book to guide the viewer through their own thoughts and feelings, a trip that requires multiple visits to really grasp what is being said, but is luckily made easy through the craft of the photographer.