Interview: Photographer Gabriele Rigon (Italy)
Interviews / Stories
Tell us something about yourself
I was born in 1961, in a small town called Gemona del Friuli (ITALY) and my main work was helicopter pilot in the italian army (photography is my passion).
I was flying Huey's and CH 47 Chinook's in the Italian Army, it is beautiful work but it steals a lot of your time.
Since I was young I was accustomed to see people interested in photography, because my grandfather had a photographic studio. My grandfather studio was open since 1898, and before was owned by the father of my grandfather.
This is just to tell you that I know this world since I was born.
How and when did you get into photography?
Photography became a passion and a work many years ago, when I was already a helicopter pilot and I was in Namibia in 1989 during a United Nation Mission, and, as UN soldiers, we had to guarantee free and fair elections for the independence of Namibia that happened in 1990.
That was the first serious use of my camera for reportage, and I became a combat camera of my flight group.
At that time I also fall in love for portrait photography, and when I was back from that mission, photography became my great passion and I never stopped doing it.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography now is my life, I just retired from the Army and I dedicate allo f my time to photography. I became a Fashion Photographer in the last ten years, and that’s my life!
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
The female body is for me the most compelling and provocative thing, it's perhaps nature's finest form. I am so attracted by the aesthetic form of the female body that I try to translate in images what I feel. To capture with an image the beauty of a female gesture, is like creating an eternal symbol of beauty. I think this is my philosophy.
If you see the Nike statue from the ancient Greeks, nothing has changed in more than 2000 years. Even if beauty is something subjective, as a photographer I should see the beauty in every subject, and I should work to give my interpretation of it, playing with lights and shadows, forms and particulars, everything to obtain and communicate beauty.
In photography there is light and shadow, there is no right or wrong, photography is my way to experiencing moments of life in a more intense way.
Where do you get inspiration from?
When I shoot portraits for myself I get inspired by everything, Films, Books, magazines… sometimes just from the beauty of my model and from the location.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
Yes, I always think what I want before, and the more I know the model and the location,
Studio, on location or both?
I can shoot everywere, even if for most of my photos I try to use natural light. Even in very extreme conditions of light, I foun the classical natural light from the window the best, and as you see in my artistic work I use natural light, I use sometimes a little sofbox with a continuous light of 650 watt when it’s impossible to work with natural light.
I am not familiar with flash, also for some works in studio I use continuous light.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I used to have both Canon and Nikon, but now I am in love with Sony mirrorless cameras. I have three of them, the 7R serie, and the 7II serie, and I use only two lenses, the 35mm Zeiss and the 55mm Zeiss. I do every work with this lenses. For personal projects I am using an old medium format camera, the Pentax67, and I have four lenses. I still love to work with film, but this is just for personal projects.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I am a professional photographer now, After many years of fine art nude and glamour photography as a hobbyst, I was asked by a friend that was working for “GIVENCY” to do some beauty photographs in some back stages, during the Paris Fashion Week in 2001.
I was so fascinated by the beauty of the models, the typical atmosphere few minutes before a catwalk, the people involved in every little sector of fashion world, that when I have been back to Italy I contacted a friend in Milan that was already working with fashion, and I asked him to be with him during Milano Fashion Week.
At the beginning was really difficult to get behind the stage, as you know you need credits, but after a pair of years, when people see you many times and when you know every bodyguard that stopped you more than on time, something magic happened and you are considered a fashion photographer even if nobody knows your photos, but you are inside, and you know models, designers, stylists, make up artists, hair dressers… and you are a part of a mechanism!
Now I am working with fashion and I’m realizing editorials for magazines and advertising, trying to achieve assiduity that I think is very important in this job.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
It was two years ago, when I was asked to do the advertising for a famous beer PERONI.
The Art director of the campain, the Make Up Artist, the Hair Stylist and the stylist, together with a German model, arrived in Rome at 11.00 by plane. We had to realize the photo for the campain, the Fashion Film and some photos for the magazines in few hours, so I decided just to walk in the most beautiful places in Rome and shoot the model like she was the first time in Rome, Fascinated by the ethernal beauty of the city. It was a great work, they were so happy for the photos and me too. At 18.00 they left and they went back to London. The photos for the campain was great and the film too.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
My first source of inspiration are for sure the ’50 and ’60 Neoralism movies.
I think that the post second world war was a great time for artistic expression in Italy. From Cinema to fashion, from the economic boom to the first tv show....I think that period and way of life, not surprisingly know as “LA DOLCE VTA”, had a big influence on artist and people around that world.
My second inspiration is “italian fashion” because I think the creativity of fashion designers is one of the most important tribute to the “ITALIAN STYLE” that is celebrated all around the world.
Third thing that inspires me is definitely “Spaghetti! I know that can be difficult to understand in which way spaghetti can be an inspiration but for italians is not just pasta, is part of our culture and explain who we are.
Fourth source of inspiration is the art and culture in every corner of our country: the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, Venezia, Palermo, Cristoforo Colombo, Galileo, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci...who born in Italy is to be considered very lucky!
The fifth and last thing is the “italian family”, the typical south family with archaic culture and strong tradition, that we exported through ours emigrates in years.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
I suggest to study the the photographers that changed the way to portrait women, like Avedon, Herb Ritts, Newton… and believe in your dreams. Dreams are done to be realized.
What do you think of our new magazine?
It’s a great magazine, I already new it and I think is a great idea toh ave a magazine like your for all the photographers and models!!!
Facebook: Gabriele Rigon Photography
The photos in the selection of pictures are about my model “Maria Rita Chiara Pantaleoni”.
We took this portraits in more than one year as a personal project,
I decided to publish a little book with Blurb, so, if you want, you can add the link below and you can just describe that all this photos are dedicated to only one model for this reason. Link of the book availlable at Blurb: