Friday, August 21, 2015

Book Review: Burden of Wings by Mauro Marinelli

A new art book for the cemetery enthusiast is out, one that captures the true essence of the graveyard as a gateway between the living and the dead, with inspirational photos.

Mauro Marinelli
Burden of Wings is a well-composed book of cemetery photographs taken with, of all things, a Polaroid camera. Photographer Mauro Marinelli shoots with a well-trained eye, offering the reader what he calls “the instant and the everlasting” all in one shot.

The beauty of this instamatic camera process is that you see exactly what this moment looked like at the time the shutter snapped; there’s no digital manipulation, no Photo-shopping to make the image more dramatic, more enticing, more moody. 
Just life as it existed in a cemetery at a certain moment in time.

Marinelli uses this camera to his advantage, letting the plastic lens soften the focus a bit, making the images become almost real to us. His focus on hands: clasped, reaching, comforting, quieting … allows us to identify with the statue while creating a subconscious wish for movement; a will to release the stilled hand from its pose, allowing it to complete its movement, and to continue the moment …

But as we know, in death, physical movement is gone, no longer feasible, and with these sculptures and photos, no longer necessary to capture our attention, to evoke a deeper sentiment, or to execute a heartrending sadness.

Marinelli provides us with the essence of each stone, managing to coax out our emotions regardless of our wishes.  With cogent intent, he “commits the act of photography” - offering the reader a photo; one which holds the passion of a two lovers forever locked in a kiss, another depicts the weariness of an angel’s shoulders as her wings begin to droop protectively around her.

With Burden of Wings, we are called to interpret each photo with our emotions, and with what we see. As Marinelli explains, we are “looking into the abyss of the unknown from a safe seat in the arena of the living.” How true, and how exquisite the journey!

~Joy Neighbors

Book Details:
Burden of Wings by Mauro Marinelli
Published by Kehrer Verlag (2015)
Available for purchase at
Amazon   Website:

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