We promised to bring a tribute to the Black & White Fashion Photography and that’s finally here!
This is the first interview in what will become an on-going series of exclusive conversations with some of the world’s most talented and influential fashion photographers working today.
With this series we are aiming to define Black & White Fashion Photography through the eyes of the ones who do it best and find out what are the passions and stories that drive their creations.
With much enthusiasm we welcome our first guest, Alberto Maria Colombo. Born and raised in Milan, Alberto is now based in New York City. His photographs are testament to his constant introspective search of beauty, sexuality, and elegance. He translates his deepest, most intimate feelings and thoughts into images that move the viewer. Through the power of fashion photography he is able to communicate his own whims, ponderings, urges in a romantic and alluring way, so that the people can feel comfortable looking at it.
TBWidea: Hi Alberto, can you firstly give our readers a summary of how you fit into the creative world?
Alberto Maria Colombo: I am one of those crazy people that walks in the streets and talks to himself, because my ideas are too loud to be only thought through. I can look at a dry chewingum spit on the sidewalk and imagine the naked body of a woman posing for me.
I believe I fit right in.
TBWidea: What sparked your interest in photography?
AMC: The memories about my introduction to photography are very blurry. I have always been a creative person. I went to art school at the age of 13, and then, about four years ago, I found myself holding a camera.
It became the best media to translate and communicate my thoughts and fantasies. It became like a drug. I feel the need to take pictures.
TBWidea: What drew you to move to New York?
AMC: In 2011, during my last year in college, I was supposed to spend a semester abroad, from Milan to New York. I just never went back. Manhattan at night is so beautiful, I couldn’t leave.
TBWidea: Is it the centre of photography?
AMC: It is the place where anyone who wants to get something done should do.
TBWidea: What is black and white fashion photography for you?
AMC: I once heard that black and white photography is just a way to romanticize a picture that is not good enough to be in color.
I believe that there is more than that: b/w photography is a way to translate someone’s point of view and idea, just like a color photograph. It is a choice made by the artist to represent his thoughts in a particular way.
Sometimes, because of whatever might be happening in my life, I think in black and white, I see in black and white, therefore I must photograph and create in black and white. It is the tone of a very specific and personal emotion.
TBWidea: What do you feel is the most challenging thing about photographing fashion?
AMC: Team work! Fashion photography is not just the work of the photographer. It includes the collaboration of many other members (stylist, make up artist, hairstylist, model, assistants, producers, art director, etc…).
Just like any other photographer, I am very selfish and pretentious, so it is always very hard to find people that I can trust, and feel comfortable to work with.
TBWidea: What is one last impression you want to leave in your photos?
AMC: I am Italian, I am a romantic. My photographs are always dedicated to beauty.
I want to celebrate the shapes of the human body, the simplicity and the perfection of the eyes of a woman, the feelings that make us laugh and cry, the sound of a breath, and the silence between one heartbeat and the next.
TBWidea: Have you had a favourite project you’ve worked on recently?
AMC: Yes I do. It is amazing! I just can’t talk about it yet… it still has to be published. All I can tell you so far is that it is about “hair”.
TBWidea: What do you love the most about your job?
AMC: Nudity. I adore when I see the models in the studio walking naked with nonchalance.
Please do not get me wrong, I am not some kind of pervert, nor am I a nudist. I just love when such a strong taboo like nudity completely loses its power, in the most professional and elegant way.
TBWidea: What brands would you see yourself working with in the future?
AMC: My dream client, since I first was introduced to fashion, would be Yves Saint Laurent. His women are always so strong, elegant, tough and sexy, that I fall in love with them every time I see the pictures between the pages of a magazine or through the glass of a store.
I also really like the images shot for Giorgio Armani, both for women and for men: I find them very contemporary and bittersweet. (I really hope that some of the people that work for those brands are reading this interview, maybe they’ll notice me!)
TBWidea: What is the best advice you have received so far about photography?
AMC: “Always be yourself, do not try to imitate other photographers just because they are more popular than you”.
Because of this advice right now my bank account is very dry, but at least I’ve been enjoying my time.
TBWidea: Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us!