Shots of 2001, Sicily, Campobello di Licata (AG), Piazza XX Settembre.
One Sunday morning, lost in the alleys of my hometown, I found myself observing a group of elderly people who were smiling jokingly under the awning of a bar, one of those bars where friends usually end up meeting to share the first coffee of the day, the chatter and confidences of a life that flows inexorably.
Their frank and contagious laughter caught my attention and, behind them, my mind began to see "masks" that hid nostalgic and lonely emotions.
So I approached with the camera around my neck to learn about their stories, lived among the wheat fields, the expanses of land or the undergrounds of the mines, placing myself a few centimeters from their face, with the aim of immortalizing with a precision that I would almost define "Surgical" every single expression, line, wrinkle and emotion hidden on those lived faces.
In the belief that it was an interview, the most bold and talkative people began to talk about themselves as the protagonists of a theatrical performance, in the fervor of the clumsy laughter of friends who watched them amused. The smile of the spectators was contrasted, at the same time, with the tragic nature of the stories told by the protagonists, lived in the fear of the Second World War and in the concern of a future that looked uncertain and unstable. This intersection between the irony of the observers and the tragic nature of the stories told by the protagonists recalled in my mind Stefano Benni's book “Comici Spaventati Guerrieri”, giving the project its name.
It is precisely this comic-tragic dualism that has inspired the photos you are looking at, in which I wanted to see the soul of those "masks" to convey to the observer these opposing but merged feelings in the single shot.