Back to Writing / 1-18-2005

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Italian photographer Marco Tenaglia sifts inspiration from every moment of his life. He then turns it into haunting, erotic imagery that seizes the viewer while blanketing us in its dreamscape. Marco spoke with us about his outlook and inspirations.

Eros Zine: You're from Rome, but you have much appreciation for New York and Spain. How does your creative process change with these cultures? Where do you live now?

Marco Tenaglia: Now I live in Rome, but yes Spain (Barcelona) and New York have really given me a lot. I don't even know how or why because I never traveled to learn, but instead to understand. I want to live inside, to have real living, not to be outside as a spectator. Neither in Spain nor in New York did I stay in hotels. To rent an apartment, to go out without a camera, using the subway or driving in the city, going to the supermarket, all of this makes you live inside it. You make a foreign culture your own. In that way, you have the chance of seeing things from a different point of view. It's like moving the camera from up to down, from left to right: the subject changes. I'm sure the normal living had a great influence over my style.

EZ: A lot of your models appear to have a dark, hollow emptiness. How do you direct them to capture this look?

MT: Well, I can say that I do not direct my models on the set! I mean, I speak with them, but that's it. If a model shoots with me, it's for 2 reasons. First, because she wants to realize exactly those [dark] kinds of photos. And second, because I like her, and I know in advance I can realize my style of photos with her. So, for a model, a shoot with me is really easy. She is part of the whole team that involves me, the model, the make-up artist the hair stylist. All of us work to reach the same result.

EZ: How well do you know your models?

MT: Cryptic question!!! [grin] Exactly like in the normal life (photographer or not). A model first of all is a human person, a girl, a woman. So, usually I have a good relationship with them. Friendly relations with some of them, just professional with others, and one of them is my wife!

EZ: Ha, cryptic answer! A lot of your lighting is very contrasty, and your sets are stark, many times creating a mood of alienation. Why do you think you're drawn to this perspective?

MT: My dreams are the key and the answer. First of all I want to say that I do not smoke and I do not use drugs. But the atmosphere of my dreams is very dark. Even if I dream an usual living situation, well it's in a dark and alienated atmosphere. So dream by dream I decide to follow them and let them to inspire my photos.

EZ: You rely heavily on post-production, making your photographs truly striking. How did the combination of photography with computer effects evolve for you?

MT: Exactly as in the movies, post-production is very important in photography to reach the desired effect. As all of the photographers of my generation, I'm crossing the line between chemical and digital. Computers replace the dark room, but they open many more roads.

For me it's the natural evolution. When I started photography, it was crazy to think about digital photography. Computers weren't able to manage photo-files, and the quality was really ridiculous. Digital cameras were in the labs of Nikon, Canon and so on, but not on the market. So my post-production studio was a darkroom. Cross process, pushing and other kind of such things were normal for me. And with the right computer, it was a normal step for me to use it.

EZ: What's your relationship to the fashion industry?

MT: At the moment, the fashion industry has no a big importance for me and my profession. But the roads of God are infinite!

EZ: Amen! What's coming up for you in the future?

MT: Future for me is a very big word. I love to think about the future, but I even don't know what I'll do tomorrow, so I'm really cautious when I talk about it. At the same tim,e I'm really excited to think about it. Usually I follow my heart more than my brain so it's very difficult for me to plan ahead.

You can learn about Marco Tenaglia at

Marco Tenaglia - by Sez G.