Juror’s Pick, Daylight/CDS Photo Awards Work-in-Process Prize
“‘I am not my home,’ he kept telling me over and over, but one day he decided to let me in,’ explains Lorenzo Martelli regarding his endeavor to portray the private, melancholy world of Charlie, a disinherited Milanese count. Intimate and respectful, these thoughtful black-and-white photographs of the count in the mysterious, dark rooms he shares with multitudes of dogs and cats are a promising first chapter to a project that already has a quiet poetic strength.”—Stacey D. Clarkson
His grandfather renounced wealth and titles, leaving Charlie longing to run the lost family lands. Years ago, he was a brilliant radio scriptwriter. His friends called him the “Count” because of his sophisticated manners, a fragile remnant of the baronial title that would have been his. Since the ’70s, Charlie has shared his daily life with more than thirty stray dogs. Today he still has four, plus nearly forty cats. He has not left Milan since he started devoting his energies to his animals and rarely ventures out of his neighborhood. “Never a single vacation day,” he often pointed out to me without hiding a certain pride. “Never a day in bed, but now I feel that I am getting very tired physically and mentally.” In the spring of 2010, I asked Charlie permission to take pictures of him. Before my intrusion, the apartment in which he had been born and raised was a fortress that had remained sealed for decades. “I am not my home,” he kept telling me over and over, but one day he decided to let me in.