Luigi Castelli Gattinara is an Italian still-life photographer. His stylistic technique draws on imaginary antiquity, with clear references to Caravaggio and the Flemish painters. "Snapshots on canvas", as someone has called them, is a very evocative image that conveys the impression one gets looking at his photos. With their light and composition, viewers find themselves looking at veritable photographic paintings.
How would you describe your approach to still-life photography?
Ever since I was a child I’ve been fascinated by objects. When I was given my first little camera, a Comet Bencini, I was probably 10 or 11 years old: every so often on Sundays I’d wander around Rome with my father, photographing little details of Roman remains; some years later, after collecting household objects, I’d take them to the Lungotevere promenade and photograph them. I had then and still have the feeling that the elements that go into a “still life”, with their symbolic significance within the composition, represent the thoughts and emotions of the people who shoot them and look at them.
How do you select what to feature in your images?
Do you have any specific criteria? For me, in general, it’s something that leads to the creation of a composition: the “scene” is built around that. The choice comes from observation, which in any case remains an individual aspect and method: in fact, I think that every one of us has a unique and non-replicable visual perception.
Where does your interest in the representation of food come from?
In 1987, when I moved to Caracas to open my studio, I realized that in the advertising field the most interesting market is the food market. I’ve always treated food in a way that brings out its magic as if it were a “precious object”, and soon I realized it was. In many of my non-commercial compositions, along with other elements like musical instruments, books, etc., there is some food present: a bunch of grapes, a pear, a turnip, a quince, that I insert, trying to represent that incredible work of art created by Nature.