“Jubilee People” is a one-year-long project that consists of a series of portraits of people who visited Rome on the occasion of the Holy Year.
The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy is a special period of prayer that was held from 8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016 and attracted to Rome and the Vatican over 22 millions pilgrims.
“This Holy Year” - Pope Francis said - “is a response to the world’s need for a revolution of tenderness from which justice and all the rest derives. We are used to bad news, cruel news, and to even bigger atrocities, which offend the name and life of God. Ending those tragedies requires a spirit of mercy”.
Tommaso and Carlo, who own a photographic studio a few steps away from the Vatican on the main route for tourists and pilgrims, couldn’t let the opportunity go: the whole world was coming to their doorstep. From a souvenir postcard, one of the many sold in souvenirs shops around the area, they reproduced a large scale image of St. Peter’s square to be used as backdrop. In front of this special backdrop they took the portraits of the “Jubilee People”, a kaleidoscope of characters from all walks of life, age and nationalities that all together render the image of this great religious celebration. The subjects, selected in St. Peter’s Square after a quick cast, were invited in the studio to be photographed and to share their stories and their connection to the Jubilee. Just as painters like Pompeo Batoni, who lived in Rome across the eighteenth and nineteenth century, immortalized tourists on their Grand Tour, so today Tommaso and Carlo composed a visual story of that same pilgrimage and its protagonists, that make up the backbone of the religious tourism that this city inspires like few others.
The idea of using a non-place, rather than the real location, not only reminds of the old genre of “souvenir portrait”, but also responds to a defined choice of taking the subjects away from the human flow that daily assaults the Vatican area,. By escaping the anonymity of the mass and in the silence of the studio, the Jubilee People are invited back as human beings and main characters of their own stories.