Meet Fulvio Bonavia, the newest photographer to join our team! Originally from Rome, Fulvio lives in Milan and works internationally on advertising and editorial campaigns. He got his start as an illustrator and digital artist. We took some time to email across continents and time zones to get acquainted with the visionary creator who, by the way, took home first prize in the fine art category at the 2016 International Photography Awards.
What led you to photography?
The way I became a photographer is a bit unusual… I feel I’m more of an image maker. I started my career as an illustrator working in advertising and creating movie posters by hand. As a hyperrealist illustrator, photography was always a strong reference for me. After some time, I started to work as a digital artist for the best campaigns in Italy. My work was not limited to studio post; I was always present on set to coordinate the shooting and make sure I had what I needed for the image composition. I got involved in many very complicated productions where post-production played an important role.
From there I started to fall in love with photography and began to make some personal work in which the post-production process was almost nonexistent. When I showed it to the people I had worked with in the advertising community, they gave me great feedback and encouraged me to shoot for campaigns. The general response was that once my style started to emerge, my personal work was much more interesting than anything I’d made before.
In your work that fuses fashion and food, do you approach it from more of a food perspective or fashion perspective?
I was contacted by a publishing house from Australia. They had seen a photo I’d done for an ad, in which I created an armchair out of serpents, and they were intrigued by my way of combining things that have nothing to do with each other. They proposed a book of still life pictures, but the subjects and themes were very open; they left it up to me. It took me a while to decide what I wanted to do, but I ended up creating a fashion series out of food [called "A Matter of Taste"].
The interesting concept for me was that both food and fashion are “objects of desire.” People with means tend to indulge in what they choose to wear and eat. But for me, the fun thing was to make simple food elegant. Usually, food photography is considered successful when it makes you want to eat what you see. But my aim was to make something cheap you can find at any supermarket, like broccoli, into something chic and elegant.
Describe your process in imagining an ad campaign.
When I’m asked to collaborate on creative, I work with sketch and mood boards or rough compositions to show my vision. I usually sketch by hand because I know this is the best way for me to develop an idea. After that, I start to search for the mood, if it’s something that is not yet clear in my mind.
I liked their enthusiasm about my work and knew about their reputation in the advertising community. I believe it will be a great collaboration!