“It was love at first sight. I met photography when I was a teenager and I’m still in love after all these years,” Italian photographer Marco Pietracupa tells us. After moving to Milan and studying fashion photography at the Istituto Italiano di Fotografia (Italian Institute of Photography), Marco threw himself lens first into the OTT glamour of the Italian fashion scene. In the two decades since, Marco’s flash-drenched portraits and fashion editorial have coated pages in L’Officiel, L’Uomo, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Wallpaper and Rolling Stone.
Marco’s off-the-cuff style speaks to the photographer’s instinctive process. “With photography I’m able to tell a story about a personal, intimate world, that tries to find common elements with the outside world,” Marco says. “I let myself get into whatever happens around me. There are people who attract me, I like to take nudes of them to free the person from any possible stereotype and reference to fashion. Sometimes I cross ways with particular situations, which touch me and from which my journey and a new story spontaneously starts.”
Still, Marco identifies a separation between his art, portrait and fashion work. “My work in fashion is fresher and more ironic I’d say, my personal works are a bit more decadent and conceptual.” Shapeshifter, his newly published first book which features mostly unpublished archive images, demonstrates just how far Marco’s personal vision differs from his commissioned portraits of glossy celebrities. In the place of his commercial work which, at present, finds him at the end of a project with Valextra shooting portraits of famous creatives from Milan, who were asked to choose an accessory by the brand to accompany their portrait, Shapeshifter is an oddly eccentric blend of human and natural worlds: tree bark, taxidermy, dog showers and nude women clambering out of windows. “Shapeshifter shows three types of skin – human, the wood’s skin and animal’s – playing with the fine line between reality and fiction and breaking this scheme with technical objects” Marco explains. “With this work, I try to get much more into my personal dimension and I try to show my personal vision, excluding fashion visuals.”