Come on a journey with us, as we lift the curtain of the dark room and go behind the images with photographer Luca Prodigo. In this interview we go deep to find out the story behind the portraits. Learning more about the person who photographs them.
Luca is a beloved photographer at Verve, who has been with us for eight years! He is a true talent and he has been so generous with his time. Come deep dive with us about his photography and the creative process.
“I think what stands out to me, and stays with me for a long time… Is when I have a family that really loves each other, and allows me to show them how I see their bond and connection through my lens.”
Luca, tell us a little about yourself, were you always a creative child?
I always had a big big imagination for sure, my head has always been in 100 different places and that hasn’t changed from a young age!
I’ve always been a bit of a mix between creative and logic. Every now and then one of the two personalities stands out more than the other one. No idea what triggers which one, it just happens.
Were photos meaningful to you growing up?
Yes absolutely! For some reason from even my teenage years, I was always the one taking photos for everyone. Always in the background watching things happening. Storing images from holidays and events on my computer. I still remember how excited I was with my little first digital camera. A Casio with the first ever LCD screen on the back in the whole market! At the time it was revolutionary. Seeing the pictures in the back was so incredible. Being able to jump from film photography to that! Those times were when I realised just how much I loved photography.
What’s your earliest memory of photography?
Playing with my Dad’s film cameras, I was probably about 6-7 yrs old. He had few of them and I thought it was normal for every family to have a film camera in the house. My dad was collecting so many! They were always around.
Did your parents join in photos with you when you were younger?
Oh yeah, absolutely! I have great memories from those rolls of film that we printed from those years, in fact some of them are here with me in Australia. A few years ago on one of my trips back to Italy to visit my family, I put an entire pack of printed images in my luggage! Of course, I ended up exceeding my limit of kgs on the airplane. But it was worth it. I ended up leaving half of my clothes in Italy instead as I simply couldn’t leave them behind.
When did you first become interested in taking photos?
It’s so funny, I don’t think I fully understood my passion for photography until I was 19-20 yrs old. I didn’t understand what I’d been surrounding myself with my whole life. Photography had always been a hobby, until I decided to make a career out of it.
Wanting to be happier in life and drop all those jobs just meant having a salary. The main challenges across my younger years was stepping out from the stereotype of what a “real” job should be. Finally, I began understanding that I could be anything.
What, in your opinion, makes for a powerful photograph?
Loving people, and working with people and telling their stories. This is what inspires me deeply. Therefore, at the core of this, I put aside all of the technical aspects of a photograph. All of the elements such as composition, light etc. The most powerful parts for me are actually storytelling, expressions, personality, and how you ‘feel’ about the image. I think the same photograph can mean different things to different people. The ‘powerful’ element I think is a mix of all the things above.
Tell us about one of your favourite photographs.
There are so many favourite photographs of mine from across the years, as I think you value different things at different ages. When I was kid I loved one of me and my brother at a waterpark in the end of the 80’s early 90’s. It was an image of me sitting on his shoulders and we just had the waterpark behind us. More recently my favourite image(s) are the ones I took about 5 years ago of my parents + one of my Dad individually .
These were the only pictures I ever took of them, and it was done with a film camera. That individual portrait was taken just a few weeks before my Dad passed, and it is so powerful to me. Even with my passion for photography, I never thought of taking pictures of my parents. That particular shot at the time just happened so naturally and I am so glad I did it. Is probably one of things I will treasure forever.
When did you first begin taking photos professionally?
I would say around 2006, that is where I really started to believe in what I could do professionally a bit more. A friend of my Father used to be a great fashion photographer back in the 80’s and I learned a lot from him.
What made you decide to work with verve photography?
Oh, where to begin! I came to Australia in 2011, found Verve and I applied. It was the only studio in the world that matched my vision of what modern photography should be. Finally, I had found something that matched the quality of what I wanted to put out there in the world. It was a place that believed in me so much. It was the perfect match, and after 8 years..still is 🙂
You’ve captured hundreds of portrait sessions during your time at Verve, what is one story or experience that really stands out to you?
I think I don’t have a specific session, as I remember all of them and there are so many unique and beautiful ones… I think what stands out to me, and stays with me for a long time is when I have a family that really loves each other and allows me to show them how I see their bond and connection through my lens. I think overall that is the thing that stays with me long afterwards.
Seeing that you are always giving 110% to every family, in every session-how do you keep creative juices flowing?
Lucky enough I get bored very easily! Which means I go on this journey of “safety” where I do what I know by experience. However, at some point I hit the bored threshold and I need new ideas, inspiration and knowledge. Due to this, I go and find it anywhere.
For me, inspiration can be found in experiences, time off, reading, watching movies, music videos sometimes. Or even simply just switching off and doing something entirely different from Photography or art. For example I love Indoor Climbing/Bouldering. THAT is literally like meditation to me!
As David Lynch (American filmmaker, painter, musician, and actor.) says: “Ideas are like fish. Everything we do starts with an idea…You don’t make the fish. You catch the fish.
You have to convince them to come to you. You can catch ideas from daydreaming, or you can catch ideas from places. If you think that maybe a place could conjure ideas, then you have to go out of the house and go traveling.”
We’ve gone from taking photos on film, to now being in a world where nearly everyone owns a camera in their pocket on a smartphone, how do you think this has shaped the way we see photography?
In some ways it is a great thing, not so great in others. Everything that evolves has two sides, it always depends which one you want to pay attention too. Lots of people think that it’s harder in our industry now as ‘everyone’ can be a photographer. For me personally, I think the opposite. When they have a session with me, I show them the EXACT opposite. At the end of the day, it comes down to education, values and perception.
If I can take a photo with my phone anywhere, does that lessen the value of a professional photographer?
To answer this, I will ask another question. If I can get a Canvas, some paint and some brushes from an Art shop, does it mean I can paint like Caravaggio ? Probably not!
Even if photography is very associated with modern technology, at the end of the day behind the equipment there is a person. A professional with ideas, skills, energy, interpretation of what is in front of him/her etc. So it definitely doesn’t lessen the value, but simply makes it just makes it more accessible, which is a great thing !
Why do you think family portrait sessions are important?
Because people don’t pay attention to it on a daily basis. If there was technology that could show every 70,80, 90 year old person their past memories as photographs, no matter what memory…They would all give anything to experience that! Therefore, we as photographers need to act in reverse and anticipate this feeling. Encouraging people to create memories now. Today. So that one day, they will have them to look back upon. Ultimately, the goal is helping people realise that photographs and memories will increase their value with time. This is something that a person can not do on a digital camera 🙂
What inspires you?
Hmmm..Shapes, feelings, colours, conversations, patterns, people, sounds , science, stories…Bunnings warehouse … you name it!
What would you love people to know about coming behind the images with photographer Luca Prodigo, before they come to be photographed by you?
Forget all their perceptions that they have about themselves. If they are able to do this, their experience will probably be one of the best things they will ever do for their families and for their kids. Also, I will make them look fantastic in a creative way!
Thank you for coming on this journey behind the images with photographer Luca Prodigo! Photographer Luca works out of our Rushcutters bay studio in Sydney, and we are so grateful to have been able to interview him. Finding out more about the character behind the lens!
Thank you Luca for your time, and if you are thinking of having your own portrait session in Sydney with Verve Portraits, you may be just lucky enough to meet him! You can also find more of his work on our website, and on our socials @verveportraits.
Team Verve x