Marco Glaviano talks about NFTs, fashion photography and influencers – WWD

Photographer and architect Marco Glaviano drew on his past to create his first NFTs.

In an interview in St. Barts, where he resides part of the year, Glaviano explained how technology fuels creativity, the not-so-interesting state of fashion photography, and the projects ahead.

Last week, the Lens dropped its five unique, one-edition NFTs starring Cindy Crawford, Paulina Porizkova and Iman, as well as Instagramer Alexis Ren (who has over 15 million followers.) There are also a depiction of a glitzy portrait of Donald Trump that he shot. for Vanity Fair in 2014.

Dubbed “Beauty and the Beast,” the NFTs were unveiled on the new Pinhole digital art platform. Glaviano is also opening a new exhibition in Saint-Barth.

Glaviano’s long career included contracts with Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and filming catwalks and commercials for Valentino, Giorgio Armani, Robert Cavalli and others. In 1995 he designed and founded Pier 59 Studio. He sold it 10 years later after it became too much of a distraction from his artistic work. From his point of view, the background noise drowns the mainstream media.

“Everyone publishes magazines. Idaho housewives, who wear clogs, tell you what to wear. How can you control this? It’s impossible, ”he said.

The advertising slowdown is not only impacting the financial security of publishers, but also the compensation of photographers and other talent. In addition, influencers get paid a lot even if they “don’t always know what’s right or stylish.” There is no filter, ”said Glaviano. “When Diana Vreeland was editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, there was nothing in these pages that was not very elegant. There was strong control. Now there is absolutely no control. Anyone can put anything on the Internet. And everyone is watching it too. In that sense, it is a disaster.

At 79, he says he was always interested in technology and the first scans of a shoot to relay a large pixel effect for American Vogue in a 10-page broadcast in 1982. He then worked with Fuji, Kodak, Phase One. and other companies, testing new digital cameras and equipment they invest in.

Part of the appeal of NFTs was that artists, not just photographers, could have control over their images. “The galleries have always been very greedy in a preponderant way. Some of them have become more famous than the artists they represent. With NFTs, there’s that encryption where the artist will always own the images and know who has them and what they’re doing with them, ”Glaviano said.

Speaking about the importance of traceability of NFTs, he said that this cannot be done with digital art or classical art. “You never know where it ends,” he said. “NFTs are the future. We have to move on, right? I don’t like people who don’t like progress. Progress is good. Of course, that makes some victims. Every time you improve something, you hurt someone else. But overall, it’s a good thing.

The believers of the good old days laugh at themselves, he said, “That is not true. The good old days weren’t so good [laughs]. Either way, it motivates us… look at what’s going on with women. Well, it’s been thousands of years. Now they are on their own. It’s always difficult, but we have to embrace the future, ”said Glaviano.

Ten years ago he quit filming due to the superior digital quality. “There’s a debate about it, but only because most people don’t really know how to use it. It is no longer necessary to film for any reason. I still shoot movies even now sometimes. It’s a romantic thing. It’s like riding a horse instead of a car. The horses are beautiful and the cinema too. But for practical reasons this is no longer necessary, ”said Glaviano.

Glaviano chose to represent the work he’s known for – models from the 80s and 90s, which is “what people really love and they are popular with collectors.” Recognizing the renewed interest in several models of that time, including Porizkova and Crawford, he said: “After them there was no one like them. The taste has changed. Fashion has changed. They were [among ]the latest models. They were familiar names. They were famous like rock stars.

During the 1980s, the photographer made four calendars with Crawford and sold over a million each year in bookstores. “It was a great thing at one time, especially as a setting in college dorms.” said Glaviano. “We did two with Paulina… it was the golden days of modeling when John Casablancas had all the best models. Then everything changed. People are very interested in this now. I know this because there are a lot of people interested in this now and a lot of people buying the prints.

He has always been interested in technology, because photography is a profession, not just an art. As to how influencers are now eclipsing models “totally, totally,” he said, “It’s a different business model. Let’s face it – the big magazines are gone and they’ve been replaced by social media. They put a lot of effort into making these photos… I really miss that and people too. They don’t find influencers at the same level even if some of them are.

While “it’s a shame” that the amount of artistic experimentation has diminished in fashion photography, as many of the conglomerate-owned houses and designer brands increasingly focus on quarterly results, it is not. not ready to change, said Glaviano. With the 10-day Caribbean shoot for Vogue long gone, he said, “It was a big investment in time, money and art.”

With millions of photographs “all over the place”, it is a little difficult to distinguish exceptional talent. His daughter Alessia, who created and oversees the Vogue Photo Festival, showed him interesting work. “But there are many, many. It’s hard to say, ”he said, speaking more digitally.

As for what interests him now in fashion, Glaviano said “nothing”, before welcoming the “democratization of fashion and making good design accessible to all”. Companies like Uniqlo who “can make all of this amazing, affordable, really good quality clothes anywhere so that anyone can buy them. It is very democratic. I have jeans that the designers gave me that cost $ 1,000. I buy the Uniqlo ones in white for $ 28.

Asked about the environmental waste for which fast fashion retailers are criticized, he said: “Everyone wears something. Everyone is dressed well – a pair of jeans is a pair of jeans … also from what I understand, even reading your newspaper every now and then, that big companies are very environmentally conscious of These days.

Remembering fashion photography stars Hiro, Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, Glaviano remembers going to see an exhibit of images of Penn’s crushed cigarettes at the Marlborough Gallery in 1975 or 1976. “It was so amazing. and I was so depressed that this guy could do art. out of cigarette butts. [I thought], I’m giving up, “he laughed.” It was photography. Now it’s a little different.

Looking ahead, Glaviano stressed that the possibilities for photographers, artists and other visual specialists are “incredible”, because of the technological tools to which they have access. He said, “If someone like Michelangelo had a computer like the one we have now, who knows what he would have done. It’s not true that all that [technology] is bad. It’s just that some people make bad art with technology. They always have. They also did it with brushes.

But NFTs and digital tools can unleash creativity, said Glaviano, “It frees your imagination to go where you couldn’t go.”

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