Giampaolo Sgura shoots for big names in the fashion world, including Vogue and GQ magazine. But it wasn’t always so. Coming from an agricultural background, he studied architecture, although he always knew that his heart was in fashion. We talk to him about how he made the leap into the fashion world and what inspires him.
Driven by origins
“I’ve learned a lot from my father, whose background is in agriculture. It’s in the way I work with people, the way I relate to them, my way of respecting everybody on set. I feel lucky to have such a great job. My father was always smiling even when his machines were stuck or broken. He’d be happy to fix it and make sure he was not losing days of work in his field and come back home to us proud of his day at work. Coming from this background you appreciate life, sun and respect.”
From architecture to fashion
“I studied architecture in Milan and Berlin but during those five years I have been studying more pages of Vogue than my Vitruvius or Le Corbusier books. I knew since I was 15 years old that I belonged to fashion. Architecture was a big passion for me and still is. Today, this helps me in composition and sketching out every single set I do for my photoshoots. Being a fashion photographer requires a lot of knowledge. It’s like being a director. You need to control every single detail. I guess architects do the same but they must wait for months or years to see their ideas becoming reality. I am lucky to see my idea right away.”
“The “beauty” and “dream” of fashion inspires me. I have always been fascinated since I was a child by those magazines and those pages full of beauties that were so unique or faraway.
As a photographer, I can be inspired by great fashion designers and their collections. Some are very creative and forward thinking, so they can inspire an editorial, for example expressing the trend of the season. Sometimes I create a completely new concept inspired by a scene I might have seen in a movie or on the street or a club.
“Everything can be inspiring and translate in photographs. The clothes are just the cherry on the cake for a perfect result.”
“My favorite subjects are models, I like the way we can transform, challenge, let them move, create characters.”
Having the right casting done, means you’re 50% of the way towards a good picture. When I photograph I always think of a wide range of consumers that might be inspired by the work. I want to inspire people to either copy that look in their daily life or go directly to the shop and buy part of the look. Fashion images today need to be direct and clear.”
Using the XF Camera System
“I started shooting with film 16 years ago, switching to digital 10 years ago. It changed my life. Phase One has always been my favorite digital back from the start. Today, with the great camera they developed it’s the best equipment I have ever had. Their software, Capture One Pro, makes my life and hours spent editing, much faster. I can spend more time on my creative process than editing. The files are incredibly detailed and not comparable to any other digital cameras.”
“For my fashion studio pictures, the ones I call the “classic studio shots”, I use the Schneider Kreuznach 120mm lens. It’s perfect for silhouettes and portraits. It really helps give the models a strong presence on set.”