Stories

This is the story of Giancarlo

Teramo

Italy

This is a story that highlights and values the people suffering from mental disabilities.
I met him by chance when he occasionally came to town.

It was like an apparition of an existing but at the same time impenetrable man, wrapped in an aura of mystery that fascinated me. A few jokes, often the same, when he came to visit me in the studio to have a chat in a short and suspended time before disappearing as he appeared to return to his world, in a small village at the foot of the Gran Sasso mountain.

Giancarlo, a big man of at least one meter and eighty, white beard and hair, a childish but at the same time wise look that, painlessly, seems to perceive and lift the most sinister folds of your being an ordinary man.

And so, one day I found myself ringing the doorbell of his house. He looked out and without asking anything, pleasantly surprised by my visit, he opened the door with a warm smile, making me enter his world.

Giancarlo does not speak phrases of circumstance, he goes straight to the heart, he doesn’t like pleasantries or clichés that enclose many relationships that we define as normal, even if he prepares coffee for you that is also good. With him you are free to be yourself, because he is simply a free man, even if this freedom must necessarily cost him a continuous inner swing that is difficult to identify initially, to try to adapt to a world that perhaps goes fast, asks too much, is often blind to the beauty of little things: it simply tiring.

And so, I realize that it is almost evening but after a few days, I come back again and he welcomes me again with his smile, like if was waiting for this visit. Day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute, even that time became evening.

Something magical was born between us, a friendship, and at that point photographing him became our new language, it marks the steps of our closeness, marks the words we say to each other and those that are silent but captured by my lens.

The beginning of what I call a journey coincided with my decision to undertake an individual path of psycho­therapy, when I chose to question myself leaving my comfort zone.

Thus, while I reached my inner areas with awareness, inner places of Giancarlo were revealed; then I discovered a sensitive man, with his simple life, marked by interior rhythms and free from the conventions of modernity. An artist who uses his creations to express fears, critical issues but also to affirm his opinions.Giancarlo is suffering from a disabling psychiatric pathology and, in his case, now chronic, which makes rela­tionships with others, contact with himself and the world around him very difficult.

Coming to terms with his loneliness, I wanted to tell it and highlight how often invisible and silent suffering is hidden in discomfort.

October 2020. Drawing a man’s profile in pencil. Giancarlo is an artist. In the past, when his illness was not yet onset, in Rome he was involved in creating graphic motifs that would be used for fashion objects such as scarves, umbrellas, clothing, for companies and even important brands of Italian fashion. He was an engraver, one of the best in Abruzzo, he experimented with techniques such as oil painting, acrylic, charcoal, pencil.
March 2019. Sitting with his back to the sun, peering into the darkness that “light up” for his next artistic creations.
November 2018. Alone in the streets of the town, where he often goes for buying food, and then stops at the bar where he spends most of his day sitting at the tables having cappuccino, donut and coffee, smoking cigarettes.
May 2019. In the shower. Giancarlo is followed and supported by the territorial health service. Specifically, every week he receives a visit from a team where, in addition to a psychologist, a social worker and a rehabilitation technician, there is a nurse who is preparing drugs for his weekly therapy, stimulating and supporting him in taking care of his person.
February 2020. The bedroom of Giancarlo’s parents, passed away some time ago, now used as warehouse to store his works. Here he stores any finished artistic work. Today this room is almost impractical due to the huge amount of objects present piled up over time
September 2020. Cigarette butts assembled in one of his works of art. His recent artistic production consists in recovering the most disparate materials to compose them in an apparently chaotic way but which certainly express fears, criticalities and also affirm his points of view. Works that he calls “Modern Things”.
March 2019 Giancarlo is a kind, polite man. A generous and sensitive soul that tries every day to find a compromise between his inner world and the continuous demands of the external reality, to which he is probably struggling to adapt himself. In this picture, while he looks through the glass of the window on which the flowering branches of some trees of his small garden are reflected.
December 2018. The wall of the bedroom on which the bed is supported, tells of all his nocturnal restlessness, of his movements that over the times have sculpted the “sky” of a landscape, as if it were his inner landscape.
December 2019. Giancarlo yawns sunk in one of his favorite armchairs. He spends most of his days sitting in an armchair, smoking, meditating and listening to music that ranges from classical to rock up to the folk songs of Abruzzo.
May 2019. Giancarlo sitting on the bed expresses all the majesty of his body. A big man of at least one meter and eighty, white hair and a child’s look and, at the same, time wise.
March 2019. A cat looks out from the shadows on the kitchen table to retrieve some leftover food to taste. Giancarlo loves animals. In the past, in the back of his house he had managed to create a small zoo with pigeons, rabbits, and various pets. Due to the difficulties in managing them, he was forced to remove everything keeping only a few cats.
December 2018. Giancarlo does not like to celebrate any anniversary. Here he observes the Christmas tree decorated by the maid who comes to him one day a week to keep his home tidy.

Giampiero Marcocci

I love to tell people and their stories. I look for the instinctive, unpredictable expression that excites in photography. I believe in the power of photography, that must be sought in what it does not show us, in the feelings and emotions it arouses by looking at it.

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2 Comments

  1. Mi piace molto la tua serie. Sei riuscito a trattare un argomento molto delicato con grande tatto e sensibilità artistica. Le fotografie sono state ben realizzate e apprezzo molto la tua tecnica! Molto bello anche il testo.
    Complimenti 🙂

    1. Ciao Roberto, ti ringrazio molto per il tuo commento e le tue belle parole. Mi sono fatto trasportare dalla sensibilità e la semplicità di Giancarlo con cui sono stato a contatto per due anni circa, così ho potuto raccontarlo

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