Emanuele Scorcelletti sums up his philosophy and photography in a few words: “Seeing, not thinking, letting life take its course and your heart be your guide.” Mr. Scorcelletti immortalises what he sees with his Leica M6—and a “tender, respectful” gaze, as actress Monica Bellucci once said to him. Born to Italian parents in Luxembourg in 1964, he lives in France. He spent years at the prestigious Gamma agency before suddenly becoming famous one May day in 2002. Overlooking the Cannes Festival’s red carpet, Mr. Scorcelletti obtained the shot of a lifetime: Sharon Stone offering herself to the glare of the crackling, flashing cameras, elegantly stretching one arm heavenward as though thanking the gods. The picture went around the world and won the World Press Photo Award in the Arts and Culture category. From there it was just a small step to being labelled a photographer of the stars and asked to produce portraits of international celebrities. Mr. Scorcelletti was brilliant at it. The rich and famous have filed past his lens, letting their hair down as though confiding secrets to a friend in a moment of sharing that endows each photograph with tenderness, poetry and grace, capturing a moment of eternity.
But the bright lights have no appeal for Mr. Scorcelletti, who prefers humility and discretion. He avoids hustle and bustle, often doubting himself for no reason, but that is the perfectionist’s secret. A few years ago, his father’s death took him back to his roots in Senigallia, a town in Italy’s rural, landlocked, sundrenched Marches region where he had spent his childhood vacations. He travelled around, met the people living there and rediscovered the humanism of his earliest work. He also embarked on a quest for his identity, his late father, his roots, his artistic choices and those of his role models: the great Mario Giacomelli, also from the Marches, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, who made him aware of the decisive moment. Mr. Scorcelletti returned from his Italian pilgrimage a changed man. His style became crisper and more controlled, and his photographs exuded empathy for his subjects. The outcome was an ode to his roots, exhibited at the Festival de La Gacilly in 2016 and the Visa pour l’Image Festival in Perpignan in 2017.
Naturally, the Yves Rocher Foundation entrusted Mr. Scorcelletti with this photo commission in Tamil Nadu, India. His kindness and humanism allow him to take moving, unvarnished portraits, scenes of rural life and weightless moments. His flawless aesthetic command of black and white photography offers, he says, forms that help him with geometry and framing. At 54, this photographer with a tender gaze likes to blur the lines, but keeps the emotion of his childhood intact.
© Texte : Cyril Drouhet
© Photo : Marc Giovanni