“At the heart of my creative process there’s a constant deep understanding of the people around me and ultimately the world I live in. I have a strong attachment to nature that pushes my work to a multi-dimensional space delicately achieved through photography, installations and sculptures. I mostly explore the tactile essence due to my obsession with organic texture, touch, and light, helping to bring my pieces to life. My aesthetic is both impassioned and sophisticated with strong storytelling themes achieved through the graceful use of tones and juxtaposition of details. ”
Luca is an Italian artist born in Parma, May 4th, 1995. At the age of 18, he began his academic studies in photography at Arts University Bournemouth (UK) and in the while, he was the first lighting assistant to several fine art and fashion photographers based in London. He graduated in Fashion Photography with 1st Class Honours, July 2017. Luca is based in London however temporarily working in Parma where he is developing his concepts at strict contact with nature and past memories. He is carrying out purely experimental work based on visual instinctive research. He has also developed a solo exhibition released in May at 180 Strand. His work has also appeared on several major fashion platforms.
Clients include MaxMara, Tod’s, Missoni, Mahmood, Nike, Luxottica, Vogue Italia, Burberry, Marni, Farfetch, GQ, Delfina Delletrez Fendi, Le Temps, 10Men.
When did you start being interested in photography?
I still remember so vividly the period of my life where it all started. Like a flash in the middle of the darkest night. I was just under 10 years old and I remember home burglaries in my neighbourhood were intensifying where I was living at that time, in Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. On a plus side, my parents used to argue quite a lot and my dad would happen to leave my house for a couple of days. There was this feeling of the material and emotional loss that was growing inside me that somehow came to an alt when I picked my dad’s digital camera. I recklessly started shooting every object of my house, every painting, all my teddy bears, all the vases and plants, my books and even took a selfie myself. Few days after I went outside with some disposable cameras I’ve found and taken a portrait of each dogs living in my neighbourhood. I went on and on for years cataloguing pretty much everything was a range fearing I could lose the things I cared about the most at any time. The meaning of my photography has somehow changed now but I still sense these emotions rolling inside me.
How would best describe the narrative being your photography?
Lately, two fundamental questions keep bouncing back and forth in my head: Why do I take photographs? And for who? I grew up thinking that there is no such responsibility to live a life where our inner state gets reflected on the outside and vice-versa. Maintaining a steady flow of emotional exchange from the inside-out is crucial, otherwise, what’s the point in hiding? In building a wall to keep us detached from the external world. I learnt quickly in my childhood that being vulnerable to world creations is an open door that leads to meaningful imagery. Within my practice, I keep looking for these doors and if don’t find the ones I’m looking for I eventually end up creating my own. When I look backwards with fresh eyes at the photographs I’ve taken I can see where I truly kept myself open and fragile and when instead I was just pretending. I’m fascinated by those two contrasting dimensions, the one where we are more sterile, rigid and lifeless against the one where the joyful poetic side of us comes to the surface.
Does the juxtaposition of fantasy and reality in your photography brings more feelings in and push the boundaries in the viewer?
I’m always in the hunt for realness, regardless of the context in which the photographs are taken. Fluctuating through a wide range of subjects and objects, while shooting I always try to inject a human footprint. I must admit that I have a penchant for giving souls to my photographs and the things I portray. I believe in some extent to animism and I challenge myself to imagine how those souls might look like, what’s their voice like or the shape of their emotions. I want the viewer to transcend everyday life and channel their imagination outwardly. As if to impress an encrypted code that could one day understood. I believe I want to push the viewer in questioning pretty much everything, from an apple to a tree or a painted face. What’s real and what isn’t? Is this photograph talking to my past or my future? Is then about outer Space or Planet Earth? I hate rock-solid answers. I truly push to keep those questions open and unanswered. Reality is so fluid and fragile that only relative questions can channel our existence forward. It is about giving an additional viewpoint that all together we then start to shift our focus between fantasy and reality. The wider the perspective, the funnier it gets on shaping our reality.
Each time I personally look at a photography of yours, there is something quite innocent, poetic and yet very sensual and raw, would you agree with those mix feelings?
I dare I say probably the most accurate depiction of my photographs. I’m no longer able to see clear lines between the vastly of my feelings. Am I feeling nostalgic, sad, happy or fearless? Am I more like a man or I feel less androgynous? Am I dramatic or cynical? What if we are everything, full of mixed feelings or instead we are empty? There is no such terrible act of freezing ourselves into a definite ego. What a foolish act. What if the belief in ourselves is just a construct? I feel incredibly naive about facing what I am.One day I can see something and the next another. And I guess my photographs somehow follow. Sometimes I stare at the sun and close my eyes and those lava tones suddenly appear behind the eyelid. The emotion that erupts inside me meditating on those tones is what I try to conceive in my practice. Is this red too red or this red wants to say something? Is the heat from sun rays damaging my eyes or is healing them? I don’t know exactly but those discrepancies make the experience complete and I hope my photograph can be as inclusive too.
You get commissioned to do fashion photography by brands such as Chanel, do they sometimes let your art direct the shoot and mix this fantasy world in the reality of models & the shoot?
It is getting harder to have creative freedom on a commercial shoot, unfortunately. The commercial pressure of keeping a definite identity and a kind of homogeneous aesthetic trend for brands is increasing and market searches don’t help either. It is instead a different story when a brand asks you to envision their clothes within your unique vision. It happened to be the most interesting collaboration becoming an experience that creates something you’d never think it would. Most of the time clothes are an intrinsic object of art (especially haute couture) that speak to you and you push back translating them into a photograph. They are the most gratifying experience that often appears while shooting fashion editorials for magazines. Working side by side with talented stylist help me to give shape to my vision into a different context and that’s where get more exciting and you are in the conditions to create iconic timeless images.
Are you working on a new series and if so would like to tell us more about?
Starting from Summer 2019 I started to look at photography differently. I kind of let my intuition and spontaneity overwhelming my practise without boundaries. I felt that few creative limits grown during my academic education and the early stages in the fashion industry. I was almost too bored of giving the same aesthetic to my photographs and the workflow was getting too standardised for many reason. I felt it was compromising to a large extent my photographs so I took a turn. I start shooting at a faster pace and more irrationally for over a year collecting around 400 undeveloped films. I didn’t want to develop even one so I kept storing them in my studio. I let my act of shooting dominating and only had the courage to develo in batch all of them in November 2020. I had over 5,000 photograph printed and I’m discovering a side of my creative process I wasn’t aware of entirely. I’ll be creating micro-series during the editing process giving a personalised approach for each one. I feel these shots are more genuine, they taste and smell more like pure photographs to me, photographs I finally feel would happily hang them in a wall of my house eventually.