Marisa Panetti produced more than a hundred and fifty thousand negatives between 1965 and her death in 2010. Most of them are quite good, professional quality photography, the standard of art that makes the photographer famous and earns Pulitzers. Marisa had talent and an eye for light and framing, and for capturing the humanity of her subjects.
She rarely appeared without her camera, did not process prints, and she certainly didn’t exhibit her work. She went to great lengths to avoid the accolades that would surely make her famous and wealthy during her lifetime.
Only one self-portrait image exists that’s almost certainly unintentional. The single black and white frame, a blurry and off-center reflection in a photography studio window, may explain Marisa’s extreme isolation. A rather plainly dressed woman holding a camera might seem unremarkable, but the six-foot prehensile tail holding the flash unit aloft is not.