Marco Glaviano was born in Palermo, Sicily, in 1942. He studies Architecture at the University of Palermo and, in that period, starts to develop his passion and interest for photography.
In the same years, he works as a set designer in theatre and joins a jazz music band, another great passion of his. During the sixties, together with the music group, he takes part to numerous jazz Festivals, where he also starts to shoot the first photographs of fellow musicians.
In 1967 Glaviano decides to pursue the career as photographer and moves first to Rome, for a brief time, then to Milan, where he opens the studio where he will live and work for the following 8 years.
During the first years of the 1970s Marco Glaviano photography starts to be featured in the main European fashion magazines, especially Vogue Italia. This rising fame finally brings him to New York, where he will move in 1975. Here, Marco signs first an exclusive contract with American Vogue and then, between 1982 and 1994, one with Harper’s Bazaar.
Since then, Marco Glaviano photographer has worked for the most important fashion and beauty magazines in America and Europe. Thus far, he can count more than 500 covers and editorials for the most important international publications. His marvellous photographs have gained him the status as one of the best photographers of the fashion industry in the world.
In the 1980s, alongside John Casablancas, founder of Elite, and Monique Pillard, President of Elite, Glaviano has a central role in the development of the Supermodel Phenomenon. Moreover, Marco Glaviano supermodels Paulina Porizkova, Cindy Crawford and Eva Herzigova, and the Elite company choose him as only photographer of all their swimsuits’ calendars.
Furthermore, the Marco Glaviano photographer that we know today is not renowned just for his supermodels’ pictures, but also for his interest in new technologies, which led him to be the pioneer who, in 1982, published on American Vogue the very first digital photograph of all times.
As a matter of fact, the famous photographer has collaborated as consultant with Kodak, Fuji, Hasselblad, Phase One, Sinar and Scitex. With some of these companies exactly regarding the development of digital photography.
In 1995 Glaviano designs and founds PIER 59 Studios in New York, recognized still nowadays as one of the most important photography studios worldwide.
Never accepting to use photography for just one goal, Marco Glaviano has photographed also some of the most important advertising campaigns for clients such as L’oreal, Revlon, Calvin Klein, Valentino, Giorgio Armani, Roberto Cavalli and many others. Moreover, following his additional interest for films and videos, he has directed several television spots and short films about music, fashion and beauty, both in the United States and in Europe.
In 2001, together with Tommy Wirz, he opens MILANOSTUDIO in Milan, a showcase for the new frontiers reached by digital photography.
Up to now, have been published 13 books about Marco Glaviano photography. These feature photographs of the most beautiful women of the last decades, including Marco Glaviano nude models, along with his other favourite subjects such as jazz, portraits and landscape. He has held many solo exhibitions in America and Europe, and his works are part of numerous private collections worldwide.
Glaviano has three daughters, Barbara, Alessia and Adrianna, and a dog, Mr. Bentley. He currently works between New York and Milan.
Marco Glaviano is considered as one of the most important photographers in the fashion industry. He comes from a family of artists: nephew of Gino Severini, important exponent of Italian Futurism, Glaviano’s introduction to art happened quite early. As a matter of fact, he took his first photograph when he was only 5 years old, when another uncle, who worked in the cinema industry, gave him his first camera, a Leica.
He studied Architecture, but in 1967 decided to pursue the career as photographer. In fact, despite he was also part of a jazz music band, he recounted that, at the age of 26, he decided that “being a photographer was the only way to get a girlfriend, since he couldn’t even with the music”. And this is how Glaviano’s incredible career started.
From 1970s onward, Marco Glaviano photography started to be featured in the most important fashion publications in Europe, starting with Vogue Italia, to eventually conquer also the United States from 1975, when he moved to New York and signed exclusive contracts first with American Vogue and then with Harper’s Bazaar. He has been friend and colleague with the most famous personalities of the fashion world: Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Gianni Versace... Glaviano has defined their experiences and rise within the fashion world as a “Group adventure”, where they started together, “the Italians in America” who have basically given birth to the Great Fashion Italy is still known for. For example, he has worked a great deal with Giorgio Armani, mostly because they shared the same vision; “probably, for him I shot the best and most important photographs”.
In New York he designed and founded, in 1995, Pier59 studios, one of the most important photo studios in the world still today. The location was that of Chelsea Pier, specifically, the pier where the Titanic was supposed to dock; a space of both enormous dimensions and historical value. Even though now it is not Glaviano’s studio anymore, Pier59 is still open and active in the fashion field. Nowadays it provides locations, equipment and specialists for shootings; it organizes numerous events and it is considered as one of the best gathering centres during New York fashion weeks, both for runways and forums, parties and interviews.
Marco Glaviano has been also a pioneer of digital photography. In 1982 he published the very first digital photography on American Vogue. And, precisely for the development of digital photography, he has collaborated as consultant with companies such as Fuji, Hasselblad, Phase One, Sinar e Scitex. Different was the collaboration with Kodak: When Glaviano introduced the idea of abandoning the film in favour of the new medium, considered as the “future” of photography, Kodak’s Ceo got mad about it, stating that digital would have never happened... “and now they are failed. If they had listened to me....”
Marco Glaviano photographer internationally famous, is mostly known for his stunning fashion photographs, calendars and uncountable collaboration with “glossy” magazines.
He has discovered and photographed the most beautiful women of the 1980s and 1990s, the most famous supermodels. Together with John Casablancas, founder of Elite, Monique Pillard, president of Elite, and Patrick Demarchelier ha has in fact created the Supermodels phenomenon, bringing both on the covers and to the fame the gorgeous women that we still remember and admire nowadays.
Glaviano talks about it as a planned creation: they decided the models deserved to be more valued; after all they are the ones who sell the products – and were often underpaid-. To make these women special was an intentional choice that, in hindsight, led to the creation of these “monsters” and brought the supermodels to replace also Hollywood divas of that time.
In an interview with his Daughter Alessia Glaviano on Vogue Italia for the launch of his book for the retrospective “50”, the photographer recounted how he got to shoot photographs for the major fashion magazines. When he was roughly 25-26, he had to go to Morocco for a shooting and a friend with his girlfriend decided to accompany him.
The girl happened to be Eva Malmstrom, beautiful, already model and muse of important photographers (such as Barbieri and Helmut Newton). They became a couple and went to live together in Milano. Here, it was her who asked to be photographed by him and started to introduced Marco Glaviano photographer to the fashion magazines she was working for as model: thanks to this, Glaviano began to work for Vogue Italia. Afterward, Eva moved to New York and he followed her, giving the start to his American career.
For Cindy Crawford, Marco Glaviano discovery, can be considered almost as his pride. As a matter of fact, many are the photographs of the young model, in swimsuit on a beach, but also portraits, depicting the most various expressions. Glaviano defined her, together with Paulina Porizkova – another beauty discovered by him- as one of the models he preferred to work with. Smart, full of ideas and initiative when it came to work on a shooting.
In addition to Cindy Crawford, have been discovered by Marco Glaviano supemodels such as Paulina Porizkova (already mentioned), Eva Herzigova, Claudia Shiffer. They as well, portrayed in their incredible and eternal beauty, have been the main characters of the most beautiful covers of the 1980s. Moreover, they chose Marco Glaviano as the only photographer for their super- requested swimsuit calendars. Paulina Porizkova was another favourite of Glaviano, who defined her as proactive and intuitive on the set.
Glaviano enjoyed to discover new talents, to accompany the supermodels during their career, to make them grow. Photographers, in those years, were important, they could choose their models for the shootings, and he has always fought to publish the models he liked. Actually, he often argued with the clients to make things in his way!
These photographs are therefore all images born from real collaborations, based on trust between the model and the photographer. And because of this kind of relationship, many of Marco Glaviano nude models photos were shot because the models themselves asked to be portrayed like that, because they trusted the person who was in front of them: an honest photographer, who has never spread the images through the wrong channels. A trust which has led to long-lasting collaborations.
Eva Herzigova, with her “retro” kind of beauty, a bit reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe, has been one of Marco Glaviano latest discoveries, at the beginnings of the 1990s. During an interview the photographer talked about it almost with bitterness. With the 1990s, in fact, the idea of beauty, at least the one required in fashion, started to change.
Those were the years when begun to appear models with a different physicality, much skinnier, the “Kate Moss” kind of model; a beauty that was less objective and more based on the peculiarities of the person. Fashion and fashion photography stated to change as well, and turning today basically in opposition with the approach of those glossy years. And finally, started to change also the format of fashion magazines, following the directions of new advertising editors, whom started to give less space to photographers or photographs like the ‘80s kind.
In fact, as already mentioned, during the 1980s photographers were important, and this allowed them creative freedom and decisional power on the set, while from the 1990s onwards, this power has become a prerogative of the clients..
Marco Glaviano has been a photographer during the roaring 1980s, the age of “glossy” beauty, staged but based on ideals of objective Beauty. The women he has photographed reflect an idea of beauty which is totally aesthetic but almost universal, because shared by everyone. A beauty that is ideal and classic. In the interview on Vogue Italia for the launch of his book “50”, Glaviano said:
“For great part of my career I’ve been struggling for what I believed to be beautiful and not what people considered beautiful in that precise moment. I know if something is beautiful, people will look at it.
Moreover, I have noticed that, for reasons that I have never understood, the camera seems to be able to capture the beauty that comes from within. If you look at these images, the more interesting are those that portrait people who are charming and not just beautiful on the outside. I believe that the camera has this strange ability to “capture” the beauty existing also on a different level”
Nowadays, in the fashion world, but also everywhere else, this concept of beauty does not exist anymore, or at least is no longer sought after. The photographs of these perfect, statuesque women cannot be made anymore: “Is not that beautiful women do not exist anymore, but they are not model. Maybe now they are even more beautiful than before. They are not accepted in fashion because they want them different. Beautiful women do other things”.
Times have changed, and changes have to be accepted. The starting premises have changed: if now Giorgio Armani, good friend of Marco Glaviano with whom he has worked several times, thinks that nude photography is a sort of abuse, almost a devaluation of the female figure, that was not the case during the 1980s. Glaviano’s women are powerful, strong; Marco Glaviano photography is about the glorification of the woman and her beauty. In an interview, the photographer mentioned for example his friendship with Helmut Newton, other masterful photographer of women, but he also underlined the huge difference regarding their approach in photographing women.
Il Marco Glaviano photographer and aesthete has to be found also in the photographic technique, in the use of the camera and the construction of the image. An aesthetic rigour that begin with the idea but is then effectively realised through a magistral technique, which frees the expressive potential giving in fact form to it.
His idea of “objective” beauty has never been just about the subject- which yet remain a fundamental trait for a good photograph-, but about the image as a whole, starting from the idea, which has to be original, up to the practical realization, the choice of the framing and of the light. In several interviews he has stated that we all see the same things, but the creativity, the idea and the point of view are crucial factors in order to elevate a simple image to “photography”. And very few people are able to do that. Moreover, there is no peculiarity that can sanction what is beautiful and what is not, there is no technique nor light. What is beautiful, it just is. An image that catch the eye, does it without any kind of explanation.
Besides photography, another great passion of Marco Glaviano has always been Jazz, in his opinion “the most complex and innovative music since ever; and also the most important form of art invented in America”. He was 26 when he joined a jazz band and started to go around Jazz festivals. There is where he started to shoot the first photographs of fellow musicians. Actually, more and more often were the musicians themselves who asked him to take pictures of them, another hint for him to pursue the photographic career.
The world of Jazz music is a reality that Glaviano has kept photographing during the years, portraying the most famous personalities of the field. John Coltrane, B.B King, Quincy Jones are just few of the names whose faces crowd a photographic book very dear to Marco Glaviano: “To me, photographs of Jazz are more important than those of the top models”.
At the same time though, the photographer has always been aware that, unfortunately, the market for such a book is basically non-existent, especially if compared to those portraying the supermodels. As he is aware of the fact that Jazz music itself has no value on the market nowadays. The book has been the result of Glaviano’s passion and personal satisfaction.
As a matter of fact, his fashion photographs, although the most famous, represent just the 5% of his production. There are many other versions in addition the one of Marco Glaviano photographer of fashion, and these are the ones he likes the most. Fashion photographs are beautiful and are what made him who he is nowadays, but Marco Glaviano photography is also that of his city with his inhabitants, the markets, the places he grew up. The images of landscapes of the places he has visited- there is a beautiful photographic book about Costa Smeralda in Sardinia.
The portraits, of Jazz, but also of his colleagues and friends. He has recounted that once, when Time Magazine published the images for the contest of the 100 best photographs, among all the images of war, death and sorrow provided by photojournalists on the field, the only published portrait was of Whitney Houston, and it was his!
Marco Glaviano, photographer renowned worldwide, has been one of the greatest in the photography and fashion industry, and a pioneer of digital photography.
Aesthete of beauty and photography as way of expression and form of art, his shots show traces of Richard Avedon’s photography, another master of photography and source of inspiration for him.
Marco Glaviano photography has been featured on the covers and editorials of the most important magazines in the world. He has shot images that have made history and have been part of the most famous and requested calendars. Up to now, he can count more than 500 covers and editorials, plus numerous advertising campaigns for clients such as L’Oreal, Calvin Klein, Valentino and Giorgio Armani.
To Marco Glaviano Cindy Crawford, Paulina Porizkova, Eva Herzigova and Claudia Shiffer have been colleagues and muses for astonishing photos. Leading characters of images that portray beautiful and fierce women, glorifying their features and spirits.
Marco Glaviano photography career covers almost 50 years and is not yet over. Starting from the 1970s, when fashion photography was rising from the sexual emancipation of the previous decade, through the roaring 1980s and the 1990s, with the evolution of the snapshot culture and unconventional beauty, to the contemporary visual democracy, where perfect beauty goes alongside the peculiar and simple one of common people.
With his photography, Glaviano has gone through all these aesthetic revolutions led by one certainty: beauty, the classic and harmonious belonging to all things: the body of a woman and music, landscape and portraits. Yet, for his life experiences and through his images, Marco Glaviano remain the greatest proponent of the American Myth of the hedonistic 1980s: the fashion, the splendour, the wealth.
Up to today, have been published 15 books that enclose the Marco Glaviano photographer that we know today. They gather the photographs of the Supermodels, the Jazz and the landscapes of his native land, Palermo and Sicily. Worth to mention the book Maco Glaviano Sirens and the one created for his retrospective “50” held in Miami in 2018. In addition to this, he had many other solo exhibitions both in the United States and in Europe. Among these, can be mentioned the one held at The Space Gallery in New York and St. Barth in 2019; “Marco Glaviano. His world and his Palermo” in Palermo in 2013; the show “Supermodels” at The Little Black Gallery in London; and the exhibition “Jazz and Models” at the NEST showroom in Miami in 2011. He collaborates with numerous galleries worldwide, such as Space gallery in St. Barth, The Little Black Gallery in London, Izzy Gallery in Toronto, one of the most important galleries of photography. Finally, his works are part of numerous private collections around the world. Are worth to mention those of Marta Borromeo, Galliani, Gianni Agnelli, Alberto di Monaco, those of many soccer players, plus those of manifold American collectors.
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