Luca Pierro isn't just an artist or photographer…he's both. You would think that he uses Photoshop to create all the effects you see in these stunning self-portraits but, surprisingly, he doesn't. Instead, he only brings into play natural elements like flour, clay, milk, and water.
I caught up with the talented Italian artist to ask him a few questions about this series of self-expression. Read that interview below while enjoying his unique work.
Where are you from? Please give us a brief description of yourself.
I was born in Cant (Italy) in 1978. At the age of thirteen, I got my first camera, a Polaroid, and I fell in love with photography and art. It was all under the influence of my parents and, in particular, my mother, a painter. At the age of sixteen, I first experimented in the darkroom. Captured images came alive with the first SLR, a Pentax ME Super, “stolen” from my father. At nineteen, I moved to Rome to undertake university studies. During this period, while continuing to love photography, I devoted myself to music, my other great passion. Currently I live and work in Cagliari, Sardinia.
Your self-portraits are amazing. How much digital manipulation do you do, if any?
The people who see my work think they are photoshoped. Actually, they are not. I try to reach the effects, textures and lights with the least amount of manipulation as possible so I use a lot of materials like flour, milk, water and other. For the lighting, I usually use a single flash with an umbrella reflector.
Many of your images are very dark. What type of emotions do you try to evoke in your viewers?
The intention is to express a micro and macro cosmos where the figure of the artist can forcefully enter onto the scene. My figure represents a man, “the man,” involved with materials. All the elements that can lead back to “Mother Earth.” In this way, the body becomes the vehicle of expression. The traceability of the material used on the body surface is important for me. Equally important are the light and dark. The contrast between these two elements evokes the struggle between life and death.
Where do you get your inspiration?
My first inspiration was my mother. Thanks to her, I learned to appreciate painting and art. I do not have a specific artistic reference. Rather, I try to be attracted by what I see and to elaborate it in my inner world. I remain, however, always fascinated by the work of some great artists. I love the use of light in Caravaggio, the reinterpretation of the real in Magritte, and the human despair in Bruegel.
What piece of advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
I have no advice to give. I can only say what is right for me. Try to figure out what you have inside. All images, colors, emotions are already inside of us because they are part of our human nature. The trick is to find a way to release this inner world.
Thanks for the interview, Luca. Keep up the great work!