“Italy is an invitation to travel across, getting lost in its beauty” – Giò Martorana
The scent of places, the colours of the sea and the sky at the sunset, man and nature, experiences, travels and feelings.
This is the deeper meaning of the shots done by the Italian photographer Giò Martorana.
Born in Palermo in 1960, he began his career as a photographer in 1980, as an official correspondent of the Gamma agency in Paris. His style is easily recognizable thanks to its versatility that goes from photography of fashion to food, up to reportage and advertising.
What is the keystone that pervades Giò Martorana’s career?
The constant research for emotions beyond things and an inexhaustible curiosity. His photo services have been published by the most prestigious Italian and foreign magazines, such as Vogue and G.Q. He has worked for major international brands including Louis Vuitton and National Geographic.
In 2013, he started cooperating with Fedegari Group in projects to promote the Italian creativity in the world. He has also published a number of photo books in partnership with Fedegari including, Sparkling Italy, Italian Gourmet and ‘Viaggio in Italia’. Let’s meet him and disclose his artistic genius through a short interview that he gave to the Marketing of Fedegari Group, on February 5th 2018.
- Once you said that nothing can represent you better than your photographs…
The portrait of each of us is what we usually do. The portrait of a chef is his own creation of a ‘dish’. Thus the picture of Picasso is represented by his paintings instead of his face. It intrigues me when you see a person through what he/she does. It is a kind of curiosity. Even today, when I see a person walking on the street I always try to imagine his/her thoughts in a portrait. I actually love the portrait technique. I try to photograph beyond the look, in search of everyones’ world.
My first camera was a Polaroid, a gift from my uncle, who lived in the United States.
I remember the enthusiasm when I saw for the first time this extraordinary box and the sweet waiting for the magic coming out of the first photo. Nowadays, with the speed of digital cameras, the beauty of waiting has been lost. The happiness of the moment before the photo printing has disappeared. My uncle Sam’s gift and his intuition about my yet to come passion for the world of images have changed my life. Holding the camera in my hands, I felt like an inventor, a creator of curiosity.
- If you had to identify a source of inspiration, what image would come to your mind?
I do not have a unique source of inspiration: it is all the reality surrounding us. Inspiration reaches me in every moment and everywhere I am. It is important to recognize beauty where the others cannot perceive it. Beauty can be found in a sound or in a music as well, not only in photographic, cinematographic or iconographic images. The soundtrack of a movie is nothing but an image translated into notes. Our mind builds the image starting from an evocative, sourcing input that can be both musical or graphic.
- What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty for me? It is a synonym of joy, happiness. Beauty satisfies us and gives us serenity. Beauty evokes emotions. Where is elegance there is beauty. I believe that the dialectic relationship with beauty can be summarised in the research of elegance. We can meet elegance everywhere, also by photographing a simple object. I have met beauty just shooting an apple kissed by the light. Beauty is everywhere.
- What is the place that has inspired you most and you belong to?
I would say New York, in a trip to promote the Made in Italy with Fedegari. However, many are the places I visited for work that made me happy. I can say that most of them are in Italy. There are places speaking to one’s heart; there are lights and shades singing to soul and remaining fixed in memory. Any place, any house, any journey, any sea… The arising emotions created by a place remain written in our memory. Italy is a call to travel and we feel lost in beauty. Even any disorder follows an imperceptible order, in Italy. History, culture and beauty live together and when you are in so many fantastic places you feel like acting in a movie. My favourite landscape remains the sea. I am passionate about the sea, about its never-ending movement. Each wave is not like another, every single wave pattern is different. The sea may hypnotize you. You can loose yourself watching to the sky as when you are looking at a fireplace. My favourite shot is linked to the sea: a seagull that was settling over two fishermen who slept in a boat. Immortalizing it in one shot was really exciting.
- Photography and food. What does this combination mean for the photographer Giò Martorana? What about Your favourite food?
My favorite food is the eggplant Caponata. Caponata lives in my heart, it is the emotion of taste, the scent of summer, of holidays. Everybody is in love with a scent of a certain dish related to his/her childhood memories. The scent of Caponata, with tomatoes and fried eggplants reminds me happy summers spent with my family in Sicily. This is the essence of the relationship between photography and food: capturing the feeling behind images. The power evoked by a portrait can be translated into a picture in your memory. This is what I always look for in my shots. I am Sicilian and we have a special relationship with food. I was born in the ‘core’ of the Mediterranean Sea and the close relation between my land and cooking is fundamental. The Sicilian is a hedonist and finds happiness in eating. I was born in a place where each hour of the day is marked by a different scent of a food being cooked: from pasta to fish, from meat to desserts. A tribute to Italian style and food is my iconic photo of the ‘stainless steel macaroni’. A photo that I have designed from A to Z and that the skilled hands of Fedegari have made possible to realize and photograph. Pasta is a powerful reference directly related to the idea of Italy abroad. The ‘macaroni’ of steel with fresh basil and parmesan cheese perfectly suited to the idea of the Italian lifestyle, the Italian art of living. The ‘al dente’ pasta is at the same time an ironic and iconic image.
- How did your collaboration with Fedegari start?
Working with and for Fedegari means living a moment of great creativity. I cannot photograph Fedegari, I rather try to photograph what Fedegari represents. The know-how of this company, an Italian excellence that has been managed to become great from the Province of Pavia to the world. It is extraordinary to think on how, from such a decentralized place, all this entrepreneurial intelligence was born and grown always looking to the future. Continuous improvements, never looking at the successes just reached but raising more and more the standards for making Italy greater and greater. So many Italian entrepreneurs have represented and still represent the true value of the “Made in Italy”!
Being a Creative Director in Fedegari is a marvellous challenge because there is a constant search for new ideas. It is essential, I think, to continuously share new ideas. The brainstorming with the team is always the best idea to innovate and grow. Nobody has got the truth in his/her own hands.
- What about the image that became symbol of Fedegari’s campaign dedicated to Achema 2018?
The sense of speed and the flowing of time live together in the image of “the bag and the heart”. All that I imagined soon before the shot was ‘how to capture the concepts of constant innovation and state-of-the-art technology’? Taking that photo was almost like falling in love. The heart-shaped air bubble was an unexpected strike of luck, a magic result obtained by joining speed and light spreading on the moving bag. The heart was given to me as a gift. The right image for the new Fedegari campaign dedicated to the Passion beyond sterilization.