Interview for Penthouse

This morning I was looking at my bookshelf and I came across some old magazines which I had the privilege to be published by. My eyes stopped on Penthouse. It’s a nice memory because when Carl Peter Yeh – thank you Peter! -, the former editor in chief of the Dutch version contacted me for an interview, it sounded to me like a closing of a funny circle. Penthouse was one of the magazines I was used to read as a kid… secretly! Yes because at that time in the 80s there was no internet yet, and eroticism – to not mention porn – was quite a taboo, at least in where I lived. Some newsstands were populated with more or less erotic magazines e videotapes… I guess many of you don’t even know what videotapes are! Anyway, given the culture of the time, my generation were used to buy them with a certain embarrassment, and far from parents’ eyes. I remember once, I was with a school friend, and we bought some of those mags, but having to go to school, and it was a catholic school, we preferred to get rid of them, after an exciting reading obviously! We were at the bus terminal, where the drivers usually left the vehicle to have a cigarette and chat with coworkers, so we took advantage of the open window to throw the magazines directly on the driver’s seat. I guess he enjoyed the surprise!

Anyway, here we go! Not speaking even half a word of Dutch, and not remembering neither the question nor my answers, I used an automatic translator to bring it into English.

Again, thank you Carl Peter Yeh for this interview!

Enjoy… and by the way, some of the published photographs are available as limited edition prints.

Marco Tenaglia interview for penthouse

Strong Women

Sexy. Sometimes trashy. Always unapproachable. In terms of appearance. But especially in terms of character and appearance. In Marco Tenaglia’s photography, women are mainly on the move. Their dynamics splash off furiously. And if they are in ‘resting mode’, then that is at most an apparent one, such as that of a lazing tigress.  Her love gaze never loses that tearing. Tenaglia’s photographs are mainly in black and white. But because of his lighting and harsh shades, this Roman fashion and portrait photographer knows how to bring in a special ‘color’. Look closely at his Strong Women and realize they are dangerous, exciting, bloody. And oh, so enticing.

The Mission

“Honestly, there’s not even that much nudity in my photography; but it seems like there is. Which is due to the strong erotic charge that I always try to give my images. Even if my models are fully dressed, the sensuality of the whole thing has to splash off. I only use nudity functionally, for example to make a photo even more direct.”

The Examples

“Helmut Newton, very obvious of course. Brassai, a Hungarian Frenchman who photographed Paris so real in the 1930s, Henry Miller called him “the Eye” of the City of Light. And Elliott Erwitt, an American who gave a completely absurd and ironic twist to everyday reality. I don’t want to leave Horst P. Horst unmentioned either. He achieved iconic status through his fashion photography for Vogue and Coco Chanel, his portraits of Hollywood greats and those of White House Presidents and First Ladies.”

The role of nude

“To be honest, there isn’t even that much nude in my photography; but it seems like a lot. Which in turn is due to the strong erotic charge that I always try to impart to my images. Even if my models are fully dressed, the sensuality of the whole must still splash. I only use nudity functionally, for example to make a photo even more direct.”

The best Marco Tenaglia's photo

“Impossible question… I really don’t know. I mean, one day I’ll point it out, the next day I’ll point it out. In fact, anyone who looks at the photos can best make that choice themselves.”

Favorite model

“I don’t think I have one, it’s really a mer-à-boire these days when it comes to good models. If you ask me which celebrity I would like to work with… then I immediately think of actress Rachel McAdams. What a woman!”

Advice to aspiring photographers

“Nowadays, anyone can take a picture – but not everyone is a photographer. Photography is more than the camera and software. It’s also about composition and lighting, about poses and expressions. The best advice I could give is: don’t start with a digital camera but with an ‘old-fashioned’ analogue SLR. A photo or slide roll has a maximum of 36 shots, so you shoot very consciously and deliberately. You also don’t immediately get to see the result on the back of your camera. This allows you to learn to visualize and you can already see in your mind what a photo looks like. For those who aspire to a career as a photographer, remember that you are engaged in a business, not a hobby. Make that clear to people who ask you to “come and take a quick photo” and then think that your work and creativity are at most worth a bottle of wine.”

Some of the photographs in this article are available as limited edition prints

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