Fujifilm gfx 50s.
Dan Tobin Smith.
Eggplant parmesan and street food in general.
The next one that I will visit.
Marco Varoli, class 1983, is a food and still life photographer.
He recently widened his professional field spacing into portrait and ADV photography. He was born in the province of Varese but now lives and works in Milan.
In 2015 Marco Varoli founded, together with another photographer, Oak Seed Studio, but now he prefers to work on his own. His passion for photography was born with the sport he loves and practice: snowboarding.
He started photographing just for fun but then arrived the first collaborations with snowboard magazines, brands and schools. In 2012, he was selected for a Photography Master at Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) where he focused on food photography and still life, inspired, in particular, by the very technical use of lights and setups. He was also fascinated by the beauty of food, its expressiveness and its ability to reflect culture, tradition and sense of place.
His style is characterised by essential and clean compositions where texture and colour of the matter stand out.
To be a photographer is for Marco an everyday challenge with himself. Conscious that not everyone is able to transform his passion into a job, he’s constantly engaged in making his work and name known abroad as well as in Italy.
-Did you always want to be a professional photographer?
At the beginning I was passionate about architecture and I thought that was my path, at least during university studies. Soon I realised I didn’t want to follow that career.
I started working in the commercial field when I was still very young, after a while I discovered my attitude towards photography, thanks to several pictures I took during snowboarding sessions, a sport that I love and practice. Someone made me notice that I had some potential so I decided to attend a photography master at IED (European Design Institute) in Milan.
Step by step, I’m now a professional photographer and the passion for what I do grows and renews every day.
-What words best describe your style of photography?
Spontaneous, essential, technical. My motto is ‘less is more’, especially in setups. This is how I put my perspective into what I do. Then it is the eye of the observer that catches one aspect rather than a different one.
-What is your approach to marketing like?
I think that social networks are essential, not only as a quick portfolio, but also to attract possible clients through common contacts and word of mouth.
-When it comes to food, how does what’s on the plate influence the way you photograph it?
My starting point is always the chef, I try to interpret his/her mood and attitude and translate it into images.
-What is your dream project?
To have a top location, a high level production and a very out of line commissioning.
-What is your creative process like? What are you start, middle and end points?
I start from knowledge, I try to understand what (product, dish…) or who I have to deal with. From there I create an idea and everything starts moving. Then creativity takes over, that, in my job, also means to express your unique and personal point of view and to be able to translate, with the photographic medium, beauty or what is required me to make and understanding from that picture.
Originality guides me, I like distinguishing myself as a person and what I want is for my works to be characterised by that element that make them recognisable among people who work in the industry. However, that is not the only reason.
Last but not least, there are research and study, essential to renew yourself, to improve and to release unique images.
-Do you have a typical technical setup?
I like having everything under control so I prefer to use only few and well positioned flash lights; to recreate a good tridimensionality of the subject. I always have my beloved 120 mm and I tend to use diffusers instead of softboxes.
-How would you advise someone just starting out in still life and food photography?
To create his/her own style and believe in it.
-What is your general guide when it comes to lighting?
To start always from a simple setup and, step by step, add a few spots where they are needed. It is useless to start from a complicated setup as it is difficult create to manage.
-What was the best career advice you were ever given?
To always have a positive mental attitude and to aim at doing better and better.