Angry Stare by Giancarlo Crocicchia


Giancarlo Crocicchia is an Italian photographer who is based in Rome but travels all over the world to capture his images. Although Crocicchia’s work also includes landscapes, he mainly focuses on straightforward, human subjects, often posing them to look straight into the camera rather than seeking to shoot more casual, candid moments. With this deliberate, rather heavy portraiture, he creates a sense of pure, unadulterated intimacy with his viewers.

This particular piece, titled In Your Eyes, features a black and white digital composition cropped closely around a young African girl’s face. Her smooth, unlined skin and rounded visage reveals youth, and although the setting is ambiguous, merely showing incomplete fragments of the faces of other children, the intricate beads strung around her neck and the traditional hairstyles of her peers seem to suggest a tribal village. A bulky load is balanced precariously on her head – perhaps containing food or other supplies for her family – yet the girl remains expertly poised. Her straight, proud shoulders and strong neck reveal her functional role within the family, as well as her confidence in her ability to do her part in helping to provide for them.

Yet what makes this photograph so arresting is the girl’s fierce gaze, unflinching as she stares fearlessly into the camera. The slight downward cast of her head and the intensity of her stare makes her seem almost angry; perhaps out of suspicion of the strange photographer in their midst. There is a knowing in her eyes: an awareness of the dangers and threats of the world that contrasts sharply with the blank, confused faces of the children behind her. Blurry and out of focus, the other children fade quietly into the background under the intensity of the girl’s presence. This piece takes a young rural girl on the precipice of becoming a woman and transforms her into a protector – a warrior ready to defend the community she loves from any intruders.

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