Special Issue #122
Fabrizio e Geraldina Ferri
Born in Rome, Fabrizio Ferri is one of the leading fashion photographers in the world, having captured the portraits of celebrities like Sting, Madonna, Beyoncé, Susan Sarandon, Isabella Rossellini, Robert Rauschenberg, among many others. Ferri’s photographic essays have been published in several books: Open Eyed (1989), Acqua (1993), Aria (1996), Forma I – II (Design and Architecture Nudes) (2004), Fontane Romane (2005). As a cinematographer and director, Ferri filmed two award winning films, Prelude (1997) and Carmen (1998), as well as Acqua (1993), Aria (1996), Passage (2013), and Rethink Energy (2014). As a young entrepreneur, he founded Industria Superstudio in Milan in 1983, and later opened its New York City outpost in 1991.
Born in Rome, Geraldina Polverelli studied in Paris and Rome, earning both her Masters (Art History) and PhD (History of Modern Art) about Contemporary Photography at La Sapienza in Rome. She moved to New York in 2009 when she started working in the Contemporary Art world. She has been running Industria Superstudio since 2011 and she curates all Fabrizio Ferri’s projects. She is currently writing a book about Postmodern Photography.
Fabrizio: The fun in my life is working. It is probably the thing I enjoy the most. I would say that the other component of life for someone who is working a lot is rest. So the fun is the work and then the other part is not fun but it is resting with the people I love, my wife Geraldina. Our favorite way to rest is to spend time in the water.
Geraldina: I would say the same basically and perhaps I would add that we love cooking… personally I love baking, and so we can say that when we are in NY, if we are not, of course, on the sea somewhere else, it is easy to meet us shopping around in organic grocery stores and trying new recipes, experimenting preserves, cakes, cookies and during winter we spend a lot of time in Phoenicia, which is our place in the Catskill. We always do this together and sometimes we get lost into the supermarket with two different cars and we start crying and looking for each others.
Geraldina: NYC is the place.. there is no other place to be if you are a curious person, if you want to have a challenge for yourself, if you want to experiment new things and have a confrontation with artist or other creative people in the field.
Fabrizio: And for me is the same thing… it is NY. I think that if your life, in a way, allows you to live in NY you gotta have really good reason not to live in NY.. and I don’t have that reason… and so here we are…
Fabrizio: I think that the deepest memory in New York has been our wedding…the day with about hundred friends, close friends, that we spent at the Italian consulate, then sailing around Manhattan and then at the end at Industria with the beautiful dinner on grass…The table was not with the typical tablecloth but there was real grass on top of it. There were grass and flowers. and that it has been the unexpected most beautiful memory in New York.
Fabrizio: I always wear black. I’ve learned that I am 6’2” and if I wear any other color, white or green or red, anything I wear if I go close to a model in the light the color of the skin of the model and the outfit becomes the color I wear because the reflection… I am actually a big panel, reflecting panel, reflecting light and that affects the tones of my photographs, so I’ve learned to be neutral and neutral is black… and that’s how I started wearing black. And then it is easy, you know traveling a lot, I can wear always the same things, I just buy one-two-three of the same kind, so I’ve learned that being clean is enough.. really comfortable, easy and useful.
Geraldina: I love black above in the winter bc I love to play with scarves, coats, lipsticks..with colors but in a different way. So black is a wonderful base and working together it also fits with our work and our business.
Fabrizio: The location is interesting…because strangely enough we never wanted even considering living there.. It is too big, it is modern, has no charm.. And a friend of ours, his name is Terron Schaefer, he was at the time with Saks insisted that we go to see the place and we looked at many others and we did not find anything we liked… So we went there, completely not convinced and we said we may look at an apt but only if you have something high up and they said “we actually have the top floor that they are finishing right now, if you don’t mind they are still working on it. So nobody has been there yet..” We went up, they open the door and that was it…It was at that time the highest apt in the western hemisphere!
Geraldina: This particular project is very special because nothing like this has never been realized before… I mean there is a lot of talking about Italian culture abroad or what Italian Culture is today.. but to bringing people, putting their faces and sharing their memories, sharing their project, young people especially, not just people coming from the past or people that have visibility coming from the media is very very important.
Fabrizio: We are in a very good company…there is more italians outside of Italy than in Italy scattered around the world. That said, the italian culture is within the stones of Italy, within the museums of Italy, within the churches, all the art, you know, 70% of the beauty of the world is in Italy, but it is also stuck there… Culture has to keep generating new culture, otherwise it dies… and that in a contemporary global world has to happen where it can happen which means also outside of ITALY. So there is talents from Italy that around the world keep being italian and keep culture alive and find a way to, almost within osmosis, make it part of the culture of the rest of the world. So this does not isolate Italy as destination but makes it a country that plays still an important role in culture worldwide.