Interview With Giovanni Lunardi
Renowned International Photographer
By Ed Bertha
Born and raised in Parma, Italy Giovanni Lunardi now calls Sarasota, Florida his home. Traveling the globe Lunardi let his lens and artistic talents define his career. Shooting upcoming and accomplished models for the world’s top magazines he has defined a career like no other. Sitting in Lunardi’s 14,000 square foot studio with his lovely wife, and former model, Ines we have an opportunity to engage this extraordinary artist.
Giovanni, what lead you to photography and what keeps you passionate about it after all these years?
“When I did my Geology degree, I was looking for something that would give me freedom of expression. At the beginning of my career I tried to be an assistant director for movies. I thought that this would be my career. After two years I decided that this was too complicated, involved too much coordination, too many people and too much money. I was looking for a career where I could be more independent. One thing that I like about my career is that I have the freedom to accept a project that I enjoy and decline those that I do not. I don’t have to follow anyone else’s rules or direction. I make the choices I want. I have also had the opportunity to travel all over the world. Through this experience I have encountered many different people, cultures and ways of life. Things are always changing in my career. This makes life exciting.”
Why do you think you became so famous and sought after?
“I do not know the reasons I became famous. Many people have liked my pictures and have used them for covers of magazines. To date, almost 4,000 of my pictures have been featured on magazine covers around the world. Currently, I produce two to three hundred magazine covers in Europe per year.”
What kind of relationships have you had with the women in your career?
“I have always felt very comfortable with the women that I photographed. I have worked with many models, makeup artists and stylists, most of whom were women. I have worked with women the majority of my career. There are two different types of relationships: One is with the women who work with me to achieve the photograph, such as the stylists and makeup artists. The other is the relationship between me and those in front of the camera. When I work with women, I try to explain my goals and what I hope to achieve through my photographs. I have always found it easy to relate to women. I try to explain to the women in front of the camera that they must focus on only me and the camera. They have to look at me and the camera as they would look towards someone they love and feel passion for. To create a great photograph, fifty percent must come from me, and fifty percent from the woman in front of the camera. If someone is not following me, the picture will not come out. Before taking the pictures, I like to meet the women and spend some time getting to know them. I memorize how they move, how they speak, how they smile so that I can take pictures when they are at their best. After the pictures are taken, I work with my computer to give freshness to their face, to give them youth, to adjust imperfections. I try to make them appear their best.”
Tell us about some of the famous people you have worked with and photographed.
“I have worked and traveled with many beautiful models. Many of them have become famous and have had a great career. Some of the models include Jean Shrimpton, Maud Adams, Greta Scacchi, Brooke Shields, Carol Alt, Heidi Klum, Valeria Mazza, Charlize Theron, and Jack Scalia. I never become friends with the models, as they are always traveling around the world. Sometimes you never see them again. I choose to keep my life private. The life the models live is not this way. If you ask me who my favorite is, I would choose Carol Alt. She was a very nice person, very simple. She was very grateful to work with me when she was starting her career.”
Where has your career taken you?
“I have a very long list of places I have traveled to for work. I have worked in Australia, Iceland, Vietnam, and all over South America. The places I most enjoyed were Peru and Iceland. I also completed a coast-to-coast trip in the United States, covering 20,000 miles, for a 20-page shoot for an Italian Magazine named Grazia. This was a great experience.”
What made you decide to choose Sarasota as your home?
“We were in Florida for many years to do catalogues and magazines in winter, while it was very cold in Europe. We were spending two to three months in Florida every year. In 1994, I decided to buy a place to leave my equipment. When I saw the house where I live now, I decided that my dream was to move here. We then bought our home and moved here full time in 1997. Since the digital camera has replaced film cameras, everything is easier. I can still work with agencies and magazines in Europe due to the technology that is now available.”
What part did your wife, Ines, play in your career?
“Ines was modeling for a long time. She began in the 1970’s, worked for many years and became very successful. She worked for famous photographers Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, Irving Penn, and many others. Her pictures have appeared in magazines such as Vogue, Bazaar, Elle, and many other magazines. When she stopped modeling, she began working with me as a stylist and makeup artist. She is very good at this.”
Giovanni one last question. What is your most favorite photograph?
“My favorite photograph is always the last one I take. That makes it Mirta Klauber’s in your magazine.”
Photo: Giovanni with granddaughter Anna.