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Work / Photography

Italian photographer Luca Grottoli talks through his up and down relationship with the medium

“I started my photography career when I was five,” Luca Grottoli tells It’s Nice That. However, the reason behind his exceptionally early start in the medium was due to a bike accident that meant he was stuck at home recovering. “My aunt bought me a polaroid and a Nintendo. I liked shooting the ducks in Mario bros, but my parents wouldn’t let me play for too long, that’s when I started to pay attention to the polaroid.”

From that point onwards, the polaroid was Luca’s number one toy: “Since that moment I was taking photos mostly of my cat and my neighbour Alice, she came to my place because I couldn’t go out. I’d invent stories and ask her to pose for me like reading a book, playing with machines or just drawing with pencils. I think that’s where everything started.”

When Luca returned back to the routine of school, the polaroid was left behind as his mum took him to “a little photography shop in my town of Parma, Italy,” he explains. Yet, this actually put a pause on the Italian photographers budding career. “There I learnt that I wouldn’t ever become a photographer, I didn’t like that horrible shop with a tiny dark studio for portraits and during primary school when the photographer came in I always thought that it wasn’t my field.”

Luca says his influence and consequential direction came from art, rather than the technicalities of photography. “I was right, it wasn’t my field. But during my teens I was lucky to discover a great artist, Luigi Ghirri, who developed his artistic career around the area I was born and this changed everything,” he explains. “I started to take photos again in a different way, I was really obsessed by him, thanks to him I also started to look for other artists and understood that there was a different way, instead of the old photo shop in town.”

Since this realisation Luca’s career has taken many turns. He moved to Milan when he was 19 to assist a fashion photographer, two years after he “was sad and frustrated” starting his own production company, “but I was definitely too young and failed because I didn’t have enough experience”. Then, he jumped off the photography ship again, moving to Melbourne, travelling around Australia and South Asia for two years, growing as a person rather than a photographer, “I’ve so seen so much, and the weird thing is I didn’t photograph anything.”

But yet again the medium creeped back in. Luca moved back to Milan, starting all over again but with brilliant results and a client list including, AnOther, Dazed, Sotheby’s and Missoni. “I don’t know if I can describe my aesthetic,” he says, “I want to build my images in a very spontaneous way, or better I like the interlocutor to feel it.”

No matter the focus of the shoot, Luca has a knack for muting colours in a way that only adds a vibrancy to the subject matter at hand. And although they often look spontaneous, “to do it I need to study every single detail. I’m obsessed by details, fashion, lights, location, model, props and the most important thing is the colours. Everything has to be perfect.”

His particular eye may slow things down, but has its own taste and flair. “Right now my relationship with photography is great, I fought to become a photographer and I had patience.”

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Luca Grottoli

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Luca Grottoli

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Luca Grottoli

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Luca Grottoli

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Luca Grottoli: Hunter magazine

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Luca Grottoli: Hunter magazine

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Luca Grottoli: Hunter magazine

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Luca Grottoli: Hunter magazine

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Luca Grottoli: Hunter magazine

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Luca Grottoli: Hunter magazine

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Luca Grottoli

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Luca Grottoli