Carlo Piro

Arxipelag in conversation with Italian fashion and documentary photographer Carlo Piro about his approach to commissioned and personal work.

Hello Carlo, thank you for talking to us. Could you please introduce yourself and tell us about your background?


I approached photography around the age of 17. During a summer trip my father lent me his 35mm camera with black and white rolls of film, upon my return a family friend invited me to his laboratory to try to develop and print the photos in the darkroom. It was love at first sight, I then decided to enroll in a school to deepen and study the medium that I fell in love with.


You have Sicilian origins, but you grew up in Tuscany and now you live in Milan, three very different parts of Italy, defined by their own landscape, light and architecture. Is this having an influence on your work?


My childhood and adolescence spent in a carefree manner between Tuscany and Sicily certainly left me with a deep bond with the observation of light, which is something I have always loved doing since I was a child. Milan was a subsequent step and above all it trained me from a professional point of view.


You developed a precise aesthetic, which make your work very distinctive. Your images are characterized by soft tones, a warm and enveloping light, gentle atmospheres and frontal point of view. Looking at your photographs one can almost hear the silence of the scene you depicted. How did you develop your visual style? Is photography a way you find serenity?


I have never thought about building my own visual style, I have always approached the photographic medium in an honest and spontaneous way. The color tones, the light, the often frontal point of view are all part of my genuine way of seeing things, and photography allows me to capture those moments that fascinate my gaze.

Your images emphasize a deep and unspoiled connection with nature. For example, in your work for various Italian brands such as Zegna, Pomandère and Casa Parini, there is great attention on the relationship between the human figure and landscape. The result are campaigns that look very honest and direct. Do you think that more brands are looking for this kind of approach? Is realism coming back?


I can’t say with certainty whether realism is returning. I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to collaborate with brands that have given importance to this type of approach. Because of how I grew up and the contexts that shaped my eye, my connection with nature is very deep.

Can you tell us more about your experience of working for these brands, and about the link between commissioned projects and personal research?


I struggle, at least as far as my work is concerned, in clearly distinguishing between commissioned work and personal work, my approach is the same, honest and dedicated. Commissioned work, especially in the field of fashion photography, leads to team work in the creation of an image, and it is something that I always find stimulating, especially when you find yourself working with people whose point of view and creativity you respect.

What have been your favorite open air locations so far?


I recently shot on Etna, a truly magical place, the black and red earth, a magical atmosphere and a truly powerful energy.


Can you share a special memory related to travel?


A photo taken in Jordan, after hours of driving in the mountains, this scenario opens onto the road with two solitary chairs and a teapot with an immense valley in the background that opens up, excited

Carlo Piro

Carlo is a photographer from Tuscany, graduated in Photography at the Marangoni Foundation in Florence, where he specialized in fine art photography and darkroom techniques. He subsequently moved to Milan where he still lives and works.