Oh, What Stories Italian Faces Tell

Immersed – © Jed Smith

I love Italian faces. I could spend the rest of my life just working on capturing them in my photography and in my paintings. In this post I share with you four recent images that focus on the weathered faces of seasoned Italian gentlemen.

Italian faces don’t hide or mask one’s disposition

I know this sounds like a gross generality. But, I think overwhelming this is true compared to faces in many other cultures. At the risk of playing into the trite depictions of Italians in Hollywood, Italians are passionate, and they don’t put the reins on letting their emotions be seen. You see it in the animation in how they speak, and use their hands. And, facial expressions speak volumes. I love it.

When I’m back in the good ole USA I’m struck by how reserved many people seem by comparison. I’m a prime example. While I consider myself expressive when I’m relaxed and comfortable with other people, I also know I have a few filters that sometimes prevent me from being more spontaneous with my emotions.

Italian Faces, Italywise

“Diggin’ His Cigar” – ©2017 Jed Smith

Italian faces don’t leave you with a lot of guesswork

The above photo is a prime example. This man is totally and completely into his cigar moment. No, he’s not sitting on a cushion in a meditation studio chanting “Ommmm” but I dare say this man is having a supreme moment of meditation and presence.

Italian Faces

“Into the Fray” – ©2017 Jed Smith

In this image, I capture a gentlemen arriving at a large Saturday market. I call it “Into the Fray” because he’s about to step into a swirling mass of people and activity. Everyone reads something different into an image, but I detect a man steeling himself for navigating the crowd.

Lastly, I share a particular favorite, and yet another man enjoying his “smoke moment”. I love the juxtaposition of his face and the fine swirls of smoke.

Italian Faces, Italywise

“Smoke” – ©2017 Jed Smith

I hope you’ve enjoyed these images. If so, I encourage you to check out my online gallery of photography (color and black & white) and paintings.

By |2019-01-27T08:41:17+01:00May 9th, 2017|Black & White|7 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!


  1. Kathy Guenther May 11, 2017 at 12:35 am - Reply

    Fantastic captures of these men and their countenances. And, as we all know and love, Novelia G., is one of those passionate Italians that expresses herself “in the moment” and you always know what she is feeling. It is liberation of thought and spirit. You, too are doing this through your art and stories. Thank you for giving us an “escape hatch” from (crap) on the web. True beauty and substance!!

    • Jed May 11, 2017 at 9:07 am - Reply

      Thanks Kathy! You describe, so well, the qualities of Novelia that keep up entranced and enthralled! So glad you like the photos! The Alpini festival started today here in Treviso. Stay tuned for more remarkable faces!

  2. Novelia May 9, 2017 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    Jed you really know how to capture the moment, you have done it again! When you publish an article the beautiful photos go with a story, and what stories!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! like in this case. You make everything come to life and you comprehend like a navigated psycologist the thoughts and gestures of anything or anyone that captures your attention, like the man with the cigar. I remember that day in Scanno: I was pointing out to you a medieval fountain that had faces potruding from the facade; you went close to it but this man leaning blissful with the fountain behind him, enjoying his cigar, has trasmitted more to you than the fountain itself. With the rest of the photos I have enjoyed another beautiful article about Italy and, in this case, its citizens (from Abruzzo). A big embrace, Novelia.

    • Jed May 10, 2017 at 10:42 am - Reply

      Ciao Novelia, I remember so well, enjoying that wonderful afternoon with you and Peppe. If it hadn’t been for you, I would never have spotted the man. It started with the fountain, and then an even more interesting subject appeared, with his cigar! Looking forward to many more adventures with you and Peppe! Bacioni! Jed

  3. Mark Hanson May 9, 2017 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Love this and the images.

  4. Ellen Griffith May 9, 2017 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    love the pics and your descriptions further bring them to life….magnificent photography….!

    • Jed May 9, 2017 at 6:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks Ellen!!!

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