By Albert Smith
Originally published on Advocate.com July 17 2010 4:00 AM ET
Andrea Vecchiato is the Italian director of the film Luminal, adapted from Isabella Santacroce's cult novel, which won Best Film at the Rome Independent Film Festival in 2004, starring Denis Lavant and scored by Michael Nyman. He is also a fashion and portrait photographer.
Why are you a photographer?
Honest to God, I can't do anything else! I hardly have no useful education and hardly any skills at all! I have good human skills; people open up and surrender to me quite easily, especially when I have a camera in my hand. It's like I hold a gun — makes me feel invincible.
What catches your eye?
The silent, unspoken need to communicate that people have. I think I perceive it and react to it.
How do you choose your subjects?
I don't choose anyone really. I hardly go up to people and ask them to pose, because people could mistake me being direct for being aggressive. Which I am not. I wait for them to give me a signal that they are interested. In October I am having an exhibition of male nudes in London at the Soho Gallery. I just spread the word and let the subjects come in my direction. Then we talk about it and see if it happens. It's very different from anything I have done until now. I love it.
How do you describe your work?
Always as portraiture if possible. All forms of nudity should fall under that category; otherwise, it's just masturbation, and I really hate it. When I shoot fashion instead, I force myself to bring a more cinematographic element to the story. That's why, when shooting editorials, I try to have more than one character interacting (or failing to interact) with others. I need the tension. It can't simply be only about the clothes. I like people and relationships.
What makes a good photograph to you?
Either honesty or competent technicality. In general, I like raw emotion and mood. By technicality I mean the capacity of understanding and capturing light in all its manifestations and consequences. I have always been in love with light since I was a child. I love it from the scientific point of view and from the artistic. I love both Einstein and Caravaggio. The way Marcel Proust describes light in his books...
Who are your favorite artists?
These days I am really in love with the work of Ryan McGinley. I would love to purchase or — even better — trade prints with him. Same thing for Jeff Burton. He is both spontaneous and constantly in charge of the medium. His work is full of life and filth. I love filth; therefore, I love Terry Richardson! God bless the man. On the opposite side of the spectrum I am a gigantic fan of Nick Knight, I believe he is still the best photographer in the U.K. My all-time favorite is probably Peter Beard, even his fashion stuff just breaks my heart. I really would love to meet him and shoot with him.