It’s January 4, 2021. In silence, I happen to come across the visionary magic of the photographs of Mimmo Jodice. I stare enthralled at his 1970s photos, which show him intent on his work. Then I leaf through the images that his attentive, innovative eye has succeeded in capturing: landscapes, places, identity, history, culture, research, experimentation.
I can’t stop looking. I pore over his website, scroll through the photos. I go back. I look again. I plunge into a world. The world of a stranger who is already less of a stranger than he was a few minutes ago. I immerse myself in a man and his soul, now certain that I know him better than others who have long known him or have met him. “How handsome he is”, I whisper to myself. “His way of looking. How fascinating he is”. Mimmo Jodice was born in 1934. And in the photos that portray him I cannot but immediately note his strength of purpose and sheer presence. Someone who holds his life steadfastly in his hands; who understands the sense of his life and of himself. I look further, I choose the section Mediterraneo. The shadows immortalized by a snapshot that captures a precise moment, but one which recurs every day and lasts for an eternity. The history in the poses, the proud stances of the monuments and artworks: statues, remains, dust. But there’s one I linger over the most: Amazzone da Ercolano [Amazon from Herculaneum], taken in 2007.
A face salvaged from a ruin. A gaze sculpted by time. But still somehow whole and amazingly intense. I’m enthralled. I find it inexplicably magnetic. The transfiguration is immediate. It is me. It’s my projection of myself. I’m taken aback, overtaken by a feeling of anxiety and mystery. A vague feeling of devastation comes over me. “Physical or introspective?” A photo that forces me to come to terms with my present condition. My life “ruined” by the passing of time and by events, but which nevertheless resists, stands firm. And is still here. With its beauty and strength. With its femininity and languid, relaxed gaze, poised to welcome the present and the future. A gaze open to life and love. That’s me. Today, January 4, 2021.