Mario DiGirolamo was a physician and scientist who pursued his artistic muse with a camera for over 70 years. He was born in Rome, Italy in 1934, the third of five children, and earned his medical degree from the University of Rome. A year of residency at Columbia University (1959-60) persuaded him to immigrate permanently to New York City (1962) where he lived and worked for five years, moving to Atlanta, Georgia in 1968 to continue his career as physician/researcher at Emory University.
Photography was a constant passion from his earliest years.
“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t take pictures…but with lesser cameras they were ordinary souvenir pictures…Then one day I happened to open one of my father’s desk drawers and saw a shiny new Rolleiflex, which I knew was a good camera. When my father came home, I asked him, ‘ Can I have it?’ He said yes; and I knew that from that day on, if I didn’t take good pictures, I couldn’t blame it on the camera.”
DiGirolamo’s eye was seldom attracted to the simply picturesque. He looked for the unexpected beauty in the simplest details; and most of all he was interested in people, their daily lives and interactions, which the flexibility of the Rolleiflex allowed him to capture as an “unobserved observer”. “One cannot help but be struck by the ordinariness of moments captured in these pictures. These are not newsworthy events but instead are the kind of visual moments that stay with us, making a personal history of our lives…Of course the images in this book are DiGirolamo’s memories, not ours. But his photographs are so poignant that we can easily absorb his memories into our consciousness and imagine that they are ours” (Brooks Jensen, Editor of Lenswork, in his Introduction to Visione).
DiGirolamo credited participation in camera clubs in Rome and the U.S. for his formation and progress as a photographer; he learned from the constant exchange of technical information and challenges from the other members. A long-time active member of the Atlanta Photographic Society, formerly the Alpine Club, he was awarded their Creative Photographer of the Year, both in black and white and in color, for numerous years; and he was given the title of Distinguished Master Photographer shortly before his death in February 2019.
In more recent years DiGirolamo found inspiration in construction sites and junk yards, turning details of peeling paint or rust into a series of color abstracts which highlight the same sense of texture, linear movement and balance of masses that make his black and white images so visually effective.
His pictures have been shown in Vallecorsa, Italy, his father’s birthplace, and in Atlanta at:
- The Schatten Gallery (Robert Woodruff Library, Emory University)
- Dorothy McRae Gallery
- Reineke Gallery
- Jennifer Schwartz Gallery
- Hagedorn Gallery
- Lamar Dodd School of Art Main Gallery (University of Georgia)
- Fay Gold Gallery
- Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA)
- Lumière Fine Art Gallery, which currently represents his photography.
The High Museum of Art in Atlanta has several of his prints in their collection.
His photographs have also been shown at the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) Art Show in New York with great success, and they are in public and private collections worldwide.
Mario DiGirolamo has published two books of black and white images, one in 2000 entitled Sole e Ombra / Sun and Shadow, and one in 2015 entitled Visione. Please see Books webpage for details.