If Helmut Newton explored sexuality in a singularly provocative way, photographer Giampietro Favero takes us to a much more mysterious place. Though like Newton, each of the Italian fashion photographer’s images seems to be telling one small part of a more elaborate story, thrillingly sparking the imagination with each glance.
Born in Venice, he moved to Rome at the age of just 6, eventually finding himself drawn to Italy’s storied film studio Cinecitta. Which, as history has it, is where cinematic masterpieces by the likes of Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Bernardo Bertolucci, Francis Ford Coppola and even Martin Scorsese were made. And, of course, those of “Il Mago” himself.
“I had friends there,” Favero recalls, “and on the sets of Fellini I felt magic everywhere. It was like walking into one of those dreams you never want to wake up from. It was there where I [first] thought I should work on a series of images, on a particular ‘subject.'”
He worked as a young photographer in Paris, before the excitement of the burgeoning punk scene drew him to London, and back to his first love: music.
He enthuses, “Punk, like London, was very electric. It was an overdose of adrenaline – which I still use up to this day in my photography.”
He would eventually wind up in New York, finding success in the fashion and advertising worlds. Indeed, his work has notably appeared in Interview magazine. By the ’90s, however, his interest had shifted to fine art photography – and for the past decade he has been cultivating his inimitable, thought-provoking style whilst living in Mexico.
Though he doesn’t like to discuss his work, specifically, there is an immediately noticeable quality of enigma about his images – each is like one mesmerizing moment captured from within a larger narrative. The captivating eroticism also feels hallucinatory, as if one had been given access to his strikingly hypnotic dreams. Aesthetically, one might easily think of David Lynch, or, for that matter Fellini at his most surreal.
“I just like to show it that way,” Favero explains. “Instead of hallucination, I prefer to describe it as an optic illusion.”
And when asked about future undertakings, he leaves us with a rather tantalizing answer.
“Currently, I’m working on a large project that involves a story about a voyage into the afterlife. That is hallucinating.”
See more of Giampietro Favero’s work at the BlackBook Presents opening on November 28 – through January 1, 2019 – at 20 John Street in Brooklyn.