INTERVIEW WITH A MASTER
1. At what age did you become interested in photography?
I was at the university when I seriously understood my path was far different from mechanical engineering. I remember the day when I went out to take photos instead of following the lesson of mathematical analysis, I felt so good. Finally I sold my university books and bought photography books, and later I signed with a photography school.
2. How did you start your career?
In 1997 after the photography school I met with the editor of the magazine “fotografare” which was one of the the most popular photo magazines in Italy. He gave me the chance to write an article about photographic technique, he liked my article and I started a collaboration with his magazine. I really loved that collaboration, but I quit after few articles because my desire to grow faster as photographer brought me to travel and work between Rome, New York, Bercelona and other places.
3. What were some of the hurdles you encountered in the beginning?
Surprisingly I didn’t encounter many hurdles at the beginning. Problems arrived when I came back to Italy, with people – art directors, designers, editors – saying no, and many of them even without looking at my portfolio. At that time, “no” was the most common word I was used to hear.
4. Why did you decide to become a fashion photographer?
I don’t consider myself a fashion photographer. There is something fashion in my photographs, and sometimes I did – and still do – fashion works but I’m not in the fashion. I just use it to create the photos I want. I decided to be a photographer because I loved the women and I wanted to photograph them. In 20 years my style has changed, but the aim remains.
5. Do you remember your very first fashion shoot?
Oh yes! It was a young fashion company called Stylia, they hired me to shoot a small catalogue. It was my very first client and I had no experiences on how to manage a real fashion photography set. I was overwhelmed by emotions, and scared to make it wrong. I chose a familiar location for the shoot hoping to make things easier, but it didn’t help. When I got the photos from the lab, the reality was very different from expectations, and I was very disappointed. Anyway they’ve been so kind to not say anything, and paid my fee.
6. Who are your favorite photographers?
I like many photographers, I can’t mention all of them, and I think I change the names each interview. So let’s say just one name above all, then one that I will never change. Helmut Newton.
7. What is your favorite photograph ever?
Ah no! It’s too hard to answer this question, there are so many photographs I love, I don’t have an absolute favorite
8. What have been some of the obstacles or challenges you have faced in your career?
My biggest challenge was to face the fear of not measuring up. Somehow I’m glad I had this fear because it pushed my limits, as I was convinced that only making things perfect could make me happy and appreciated. But there is the reverse side of the coin, the perfect things were always the next to come. It was a loop. It took me some time to overcome this fear and finally being happy with the perfection of imperfection.
9. If you weren’t a fashion photographer, what would you be?
I really don’t know! I can’t even imagine myself doing something different from what I do.
10. What has been the worst job you’ve ever shot?
Many years ago I’ve been contacted by a fashion designer to shoot her collection in Rome. We agreed to work on a storyboard and to use an historical place as set. The day of the shoot, the designer completely changed her mind asking to shoot the models just posing straight against a horrible wall, and even though my style was different at that time, that kind of shoot was not my style at all. On the top of all she was rude with the models, and constantly trying to direct the whole shoot. I felt a wave of sickness because I was doing something I hated. It seemed an execution. We argued, I gave her my camera and told her to do the job herself.
11. Is it really as glamorous as the media makes it out to be?
Being glamorous is subjective. If you love it then it is, if you hate it then it isn’t. And there’s always a thin line between love and hate.
12. What advice would you give to a young photographer who is just starting out?
Well if you want to live and work as a photographer and achieve your goals, you must study, identify your style and build a strong and cohesive portfolio. But being talented and having a powerful portfolio is not enough. Photography is a business, and must be treated as a business. As a photographer you are selling yourself, your vision, your products, therefore you must learn marketing.
13. Your style reminds me a lot of Helmut Newton. Do you get inspired by him and why?
Let me tell you a story. When I was at the very beginning I liked photography but I was very ignorant and I neither know who was Helmut Newton nor other great photographers. I just loved the idea to shoot women and show their strong personality, most of the time my results were horrible though. Eventually I came across the photographs of Helmut Newton at an exhibition and it was love at first sight, I said wow this is what I’d really love to do. In the years after I took different roads, approaching to a very commercial style but I was not that happy. In 2010 my turn, I asked myself why the hell am I doing what I don’t like? By chance I met with a fashion designer, Maurizio Andreuccetti, who was working for Valentino at that time. We had a similar vision and we started a beautiful and long collaboration photographer/stylist. I put my old portfolio in the trash and finally I developed my style.
14. Where can people buy ure work?
I started an online store at my site. That’s the most comfortable, fastest, and secure way to buy genuine collectible prints as well as high quality posters.
Thanks for your time,