cultural heritage Elisa Mariotti fine art Italy portrait photography



// Elisa is from Bibbiena, Tuscany in Italy. A scientist by training, she began photographing without formal training, and printing her own pictures. The magic framer” is a series she took in the workshop of her favourite framer, Roberto, in 2022. She spent three days with him while preparing an exhibition.

Initially self-taught, as a member of a local photo club and of the Italian Federation of Photographic Associations, FIAF, she expanded her photography skills through workshops and courses. Her photos have won an award and been published and exhibited nationally and internationally. In 2021 she published her first book “From the same land”. The project was selected for the Open Program of the Head On Festival (Sidney).

About photography she says “I have a scientific background. Photography is my “wonderful unpaid second job”. I love documentary photography and long term projects.You live as you photograph and photograph as you live. I do it with a bright, fixed focal length, wide-angle lens.​”

“Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.”

G.K. Chesterton

What draws you to the arts?

“I think I can talk about photography, the form of art I know best. I do not know what draws me to photography, I know that I feel good when I spend time studying, photographing, editing, printing. My vision of photography: Photography is about invasion. It means to gather the essence, to give voice to thousands of magical, sometimes hard, stories that I have come in touch with. Some priceless, small – but huge for me – satisfactions along the path. Convinced that only if something is confirmed it makes sense, I continue this wonderful journey armed with my faithful camera.”

What do you like best about your project of documenting Roberto the framer?

“I used to call Roberto my “magic framer” because he always finds the right frame,” she says. “I asked for his help at any time, and he always found the right solution, even two hours before an exhibition opening.”

Elisa has documented a framer in his workshop, and she shared his story with us: Roberto has been working as a framer in Elisa´s town, Bibbiena, since 1978, a profession he came to take up by chance. He was looking for a job and so spent a period in the lab of a framer. One day the owner of the lab said, “Hey kid, you must open your own lab, I guarantee you will have the job for life.”

So Roberto registered a business, bought a circular saw, a compressor and an air pistol and began working in his garage. Two years later, in 1980, he went into business with his brother, who retired some years ago. Next year Roberto will retire too.

As Roberto always says to me: “I think that over the years I made more than 100 frames for you!”

For Elisa, framing is another part of the artistic creation process. Finding the right idea for framing an image, even choosing not to use a frame is part of the process. Framing a drawing, a painting or a photo can enhance or weaken and image´s message: it depends on the artist´s choice.

Click on the photos to see a larger image with its title. Some images may be cropped for layout.


We encourage you to take a look at Elisa´s website to also see other photographic projects. You can also check out her Instagram page.