Combining fashion and interior photography might not be a revolutionary idea, but speaking to Italian-born photographer Marco Fazio, you get the feeling that he has put more thought into it than most.
“In my own opinion, the homes we live in and the clothes we wear are two faces of the same need: to shelter ourselves,” says Marco. “Unlike other species, humans need to tame nature, which is often hostile to us – sometimes even lethal. We can observe all these layers of protection we have built around our bodies: the urban area where we live, our home, our warm duvet and our soft pajamas, if we wear one. Therefore, from my photographic point of view it is interesting to observe how all of us, from the poorest to the richest people in the world, transform the environment where we live and the way we dress in our personal and symbiotic way. This is what I like the most: to observe, to understand, to know. And this is how I fell in love with the concept of exploring synergies between fashion and architecture.”
It is worth mentioning, though, that Marco is more than just an observer. He has more than 16 years of professional experience in architecture, interior and lighting design. Combine that with the above-mentioned fascination for housing and clothing, and you have a photographer who appears to be destined to shoot the stuff he is shooting.
Combining subtly lit interiors with the slightly more artificial look of fashion photography is not easy, though. That is Marco the first to admit.
“When it comes to photographing interior, the most challenging aspect in terms of lighting is to flatter the scene without making it look unrealistic. This task is a lot easier when there are no people in the picture, because then you can just use a tripod and long exposures, but it becomes a real challenge when there are also models and garments that needs to be lit with the same attention to detail as if it was a fashion shoot in a controlled studio environment.”
“The D1’s wide power range from 250Ws to 1000Ws plus the ability to control the lights directly from the Air Remote on top of my camera are essential features that speed up technical operations on set and let me concentrate on composition and direction,” says Marco.
The images in this article illustrate what Marco likes to shoot as well as how he likes to shoot it. It is, in other words, a nice example of how he fuses interior photography with fashion photography, and what tools and techniques he utilizes to achieve that result.
“These images are from a job I did last November for an architecture firm called Well-done Medium or Rare Architects,” says Marco. “An extremely open-minded client with an unusual name, who had recently completed the refurbishment of a prestigious apartment in Covent Garden, London, owned by an undisclosed Oscar-winning music composer. Already appointed for the standard interior shoot, I suggested that we enhance the imagery by including the ‘habitat + fashion factor’. The client accepted and together we worked out a story, a theme, a mood board and the title When New York meets London, which I believe encapsulates the contemporary design in the hear of London’s West End.
“After a first reconnaissance on location, I prepared lighting diagrams for each scene, utilizing variations of the following four-light set up:”
- Key light: D1 with Soft Reflector White (Beauty Dish) on the main model.
- Fill light: D1 with ProGlobe to achieve a general natural-like illumination on the whole set.
- First rim/accent light: D1 with Zoom Reflector (sometimes also with grids and gels) to emphasize specific elements on the scene, such as garments or furniture.
- Second rim/accent light: D1 with Magnum Reflector to simulate sunlight. In some scenes this light was actually placed outside the window, thanks to Alex, my trusted assistant!
In other words: Marco came well prepared. He had scouted the location, he had prepared his setups and he had brought plenty of gear with him. Still, he willingly admits that it was not the easiest of shoots.
“Again, the biggest challenge on shoots such as this lies in having two very different subjects: the architecture and the garments. Both need to be emphasized at the same time, and both require completely different types of lighting! In addition to that, I enjoy creating selective lighting patterns, where the alternation of light and dark areas creates focal points that attract the observer’s attention. But in the end, I managed thanks to careful placement of each lighting source and a precise selection of light shapers. I truly think that without Profoto, this result wouldn’t be possible!”
You can read more about this shoot at Marco’s website.