Mario Giacomelli was born in the small Italian village of Senigállia on August 1, 1925, where he would spend his entire life. At 13, Giacomelli began to work in a print shop as a typesetter, which also inspired him to write his own poetry. For his entire artistic career, his gift for writing poetry also influenced his photographic work.
In 1953, Giacomelli acquired his first camera. Early on, he produced a series of haunting pictures of old, frail hospice patients. The autodidact soon concentrated on photography, participated in the group "La Bussola" as a freelance photographer and illustrator, and founded the group "MISA" together with Balocchi, Malfagia and other photographers.
Giacomelli’s work is extremely eclectic. He created photo-journalistic series, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, and he experimented with different photographic techniques. All of Giacomelli’s pictures are black-and-white and distinguish themselves by the strong emphasis on light-dark contrast. He preferred working on photographic series.
Giacomelli’s subjects are quite varied as well: they range across the most varied thematic areas, from abstract landscape photographs ("Metamorfosi della Terra") to pictures of the Italian rural population ("Scanno", "Zingari") to a series of photographs of a slaughterhouse ("Mattatoio"). Particularly worthy of mention is the series "Io non ho mani che mi accarezzino il volto", produced in 1961-63, that shows seminarians dancing in the snow. Giacomelli used the strong contrast between the black garb of the priests and the white of the snow to compose a graphic-abstract play of shapes in his pictures. From the beginning of the 1970’s, Giacomelli created grotesque and even tragicomic effects in his pictures of cliff formations, people from a distance and wire figures. His poetic photos are discussed in connection with Italian neorealism and the movement "pittura metafisica".
Mario Giacomelli died on November 25, 2000 in his birthplace, Senigállia.