Andrea Calestani Photographer


I hadn’t posed Igino. He didn’t pose. That was his moment of gratification at the end of the long working day in the fields. It was dusk. He had just tidied up the cows’ litter, the last job of the day before closing the stable door after having properly filled the animals’ manger and milked them. The cheesemaker’s truck had just left after collecting the milk from the last milking. His aching back leaning against the wall of the house. For better refreshment, an “alpha” without a filter in his mouth should be sucked in long swirls, slowly. The cheapest thing that could be granted in terms of vice. Rarely did his brother-in-law from the city drop by and bring him a package of “nationals”.
Igino was a sharecropper. He had escaped the dramatic experience of the Russian Campaign. When he returned home, he was immediately convinced a communist. Unreasonably, he would have perennially persisted in magnifying and making the miserable life in those countries at the time of the Soviet bloc a model of social organization. If the harvest in the fields was poor, or the rain, or the drought, or the cold and heat were beyond measure; or the cow didn’t produce milk, or for any other accident that could happen to him in his life, it was always the fault (in strict order) of: the Owners, the Vatican and the Americans. In principle. Principle.
Dedicated to work in the fields for the exact measurement of time and seasons, and little else. He rarely went to town: for religious holidays and the mid-August festival. But he never missed the PCI meetings. for the agrarian pacts demand and the “just cause”. “L’Unità” was delivered to him on the farmyard gate punctually every Sunday.
It was the year 1976 when I took this photograph in a farmhouse in the foothill countryside of the province of Parma. A nice example of what I mean about how much history there is inside a photographic portrait. I have often envied the brave photojournalists who cross distant worlds to portray and document. Then it comforts me that even just a few meters away from us there are many stories that are always worth telling and photographing.

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