Mattia Aquila, photographer, can you tell us something about yourself?
I am a professional photographer, born in 1986. I am specialized in design photography: whether it is about products, interior designs or architecture, everything about design fascinates me and is the basis of my photographic work. My work makes me travel all over Italy and abroad, allowing me to see unique places and meet new people.
When did you start working with photography and when did you understand that it was a passion and/or a profession?
I have been interested in photography since I was a child: when I was 6, I had already a small Polaroid camera with which I took photos. Later on, in order to support this passion, I followed a path of artistic studies culminating in a degree in Photography. Therefore, I can say that I am one of those lucky ones for whom the profession came from a real passion.
Have you started soon as a freelance professional or as a photo studio assistant?
During my university years, I worked at a photographic studio in Brescia; once I got my degree, I worked in interior design publishing in Brescia and, thanks to this experience, I consolidated my interest and skills in what has become my field of expertise. The choice of the freelance profession came of its own accord precisely because it paved the way for new opportunities for personal and professional growth. The path has been uphill, but thanks to a clear corporate vision that combines the photographic aspect and the business aspect, I managed to make my way in this sector focusing on customer satisfaction and retention.
Is there any professional experience that you remember with particular satisfaction?
Surely, one of the greatest satisfactions was the publication of the first editorial in the magazine AD Italia, one of the most qualified magazines in the sector. It was a goal I had set myself, but I didn’t imagine that I would be able to reach it so soon and this made me very excited and gratified at the same time.
When and how did you meet RossiniGroup?
My collaborator and I met Marco and Elisa Rossini at Euroluce 2015. At the fair, my collaborator, Sara Cozzoli, who deals with marketing and communication, had selected some particularly interesting companies on the basis of our vision and mission, and these companies included Rossini and 929 Milan as well. We seized the opportunity and went to the stand to show a selection of my works and leave a presentation folder. Everything started from there; we held a second meeting, this time at the RossiniGroup headquarters, with Marco Rossini and Nicola Pallotta, responsible for graphics, and then we started the photographic collaboration.
What is your approach to photograph light? Do you let it inspire you or prefer to interpret it according to your own idea? But, above all, how much does light count in an image?
In my opinion, light in photography is even more crucial than framing. In interior design, I work preferably with natural light that, although it cannot be controlled or managed, serves as a source of inspiration, giving life to atmospheric photos with unique feelings. On the contrary, photos in a studio provide for artificial light through the flash; in these cases, the control of light must be optimal and it is, therefore, necessary to arrange the lighting according to schemes designed to enhance the subjects / objects.
What is the RossiniGroup product that inspired you most?
Ben wall lamp immediately struck me for its rigorous design and the originality of the superimposition of the shapes; having photographed it in the chrome version, I have to admit that the finish immediately inspired me on a photographic level precisely because of its reflective properties. I also found the satin Dynamica of Plexiform very interesting as, with its simplicity, linearity and cleanliness, lends itself to many sophisticated design solutions.
How much improvisation, reflection and sharing is there in your work?
I believe that reflection is essential for the creation of top-level images in the interior design and still life sector. It is important to weigh up the frames not only on the basis of technical skills and artistic inspiration, but also on the basis of an overall view that takes into account all the elements and characteristics. Clearly, the creative vein, refined by experience, can facilitate and speed up the recognition of particularly successful shots or interesting glimpses.
Ritual question: Who are your models in contemporary photography, or in the past? Do you have one or more idols?
Candida Hoefer above all, for her rational cleanliness of the image and totemicity conveyed by her photos.
What do you think about this moment, where the social networking sites invite (oblige?) to express ourselves through private images and not only? Where everyone play the photographer? Do you find that social networking sites such as instagram or pinterest or other apps, which allow you to rework photos with your smartphone, depreciate the photographer’s work or, on the contrary, create a renewed interest in the profession?
Ritengo che social networks e immagini abbiano in comune la comunicazione: da sempre le immagini sono state un mezzo di comunicazione e i social networks sono la versione 2.0 della comunicazione odierna. Il fatto dunque che i social networks stessi utilizzino vari linguaggi di comunicazione tra cui, sempre più, anche le immagini non mi stupisce; credo tuttavia che nonostante l’interesse eccessivo e maniacale della società non solo per l’immagine, ma anche per la condivisione, permanga un netto divario tra la professione fotografica e la realizzazione di immagini quotidiane a scopo di condivisione sociale. Innanzitutto le competenze tecniche e di studio alla base di una professione oltre che l’esperienza acquisita in anni sul campo impongono già una separazione, inoltre lo sguardo creativo che spesso distingue i veri professionisti del settore è cosa rara e non di certo imprescindibile per la realizzazione di immagini che attestano le proprie vicende quotidiane. Anche la conoscenza del photo-editing per un professionista è molto avanzata e sebbene siano sempre più presenti applicazioni di editing e filtri ad uso comune sono comunque soluzioni riduttive che si adattano più che bene per scopi social, ma che a livello professionale spesso fanno sorridere. Non credo tuttavia che l’utilizzo di immagini tramite social sia svilente rispetto alla mia professione, li vedo proprio come ambiti separati; altro discorso sarebbe da fare per chi si improvvisa fotografo e cerca di ricavare da un passatempo un guadagno, spesso sono proprio tali soggetti a svilire il mercato.
Qual è il committente ideale, che ti aiuta a dare il meglio? Riesci a coniugare le esigenze del marketing con la tua interpretazione creativa?
I believe that social networking sites and images have communication in common: images have always been a means of communication and social networking sites are the 2.0 version of today’s communication. The fact that social networking sites use various communication languages, including images, is not surprising to me; however, I believe that despite the excessive and obsessive interest of society not only in the image, but also in sharing, there is still a clear gap between the photographic profession and the realization of everyday images for the purpose of social sharing. First of all, the technical and study skills at the base of a profession, as well as the experience acquired over the years in the field, already impose a separation, and the creative look that often distinguishes the true professionals of the sector is rare and certainly not unescapable for the creation of images that document our daily life. Even the knowledge of photo-editing for a professional is very advanced and although there are more and more editing and filtering applications for common use, they are reductive solutions that fit more than well for social networking purposes, but at a professional level often make you smile. However, I don’t think that the use of images through social networking sites debases my profession; I see them as separate areas; another matter is when there is one person who play the photographer and tries to make a profit from a pastime; often, just this persons debase the market.
Which is the ideal client, who helps you to give the best? Can you combine the marketing needs with your creative interpretation?
Clearly, I have a photographic style that characterizes my works and the artistic/creative approach is certainly fundamental since it is a matter of making shots of objects or interior design, but I always have an open attitude towards my client. It is always necessary to listen to the needs of the client not only because of the needs themselves, which can give valuable information on how to prepare the work, but also because we must take into account that the client is certainly the one who knows his/her product or the interior he/she has made better than others, understanding strengths and weaknesses and being able to provide useful information for the success of the photo shoot. Of course, confidence and a certain freedom of action in my work, once I have listened to the initial directives, are essential for me because they allow me to express my qualities and skills in the best possible way.
In percentage terms, how much does post-production count in your work?
Photo-editing is certainly indispensable in my work, but contrary to what many people think, miracles cannot be performed, so it is always appropriate to start from a well-made photo. Probably, if I had to venture a percentage, I would give 70% importance to the shoot and 30% importance to post-production.
White, black or colour? Colour
Renzo Piano or Zaha Hadid? Renzo Piano
Book o film? Film
Favourite film? Il cielo sopra Berlino di Wim Wenders
If it were a book? L’uccello che girava le viti del mondo di Murakami Haruki
Sea or mountain? Mare
Diary or tablet? Tablet
Restaurant or trattoria? Ristorante
Favourite sports? Tennis, running e yoga
Coffee or infusion? Caffè
Bag or backpack? Borsa
Which museum would you recommend? Metropolitan Museum of Art New York
A place that you have recently photographed and that has remained in your heart?
The Vendicari reserve, characterized by a landscape in continuous transformation: from the countryside, to the marsh and, last but not least, beach and sea.
What haven’t you photographed yet and would you like to photograph?
I would like to photograph Chatsworth, a historic residence located in Derbyshire.
How do you combine private life and working life, since Sara is your collaborator and partner?
It is not always easy because the risk of getting work to home and talking about it is always actual; on the contrary, the difficult thing is to carve out some free time. Moreover, even though each of us has his/her own area of expertise, we do not always agree on how to deal with certain situations and this can create tensions, but I must admit that we are both sufficiently aware that we are not influenced by work decisions in the private sphere. However, there is a great advantage that working in close contact with one’s partner entails, namely spending a lot of time together and being involved in the same reality by sharing experiences, new knowledge and even managing concerns together, thus alleviating stress and frustration.