Melancholic Halo: a Theme in Christiano Pedrocco’s Works
Cristiano Pedrocco is a fashion photographer and fashion films and music videos director from Rome, Italy. His style is sophisticated, cinematographic, fashion-oriented storytelling that relies on the atmosphere created with the continually fascinating play with lights and shadows. An artistic eye for filmmaking adds an element of realizing a brand-new world caught in a moment, lit by the last sun rays of the day. Crispy, elegant, modern, moving - Cristiano creates state-of-the-art imagery.
In this interview, we discuss Cristiano’s vision and understanding of composition as distinguishable in films versus still images, the meaning of the creative freedom, nostalgic longings, and what beauty is.
"One of the things I love is watching people in their everyday lives in countries I don’t know. I am attracted to every kind of culture".
Hi Cristiano, tell about yourself, how did this all start for you?
When I was in high school, during a day when the literature teacher was absent, the substitute teacher assigned us a theme entitled 'Last night at dinner'. Obviously, no one wrote on the theme, while I, strangely, on that occasion, wrote my first screenplay, imagining a child having dinner with the greatest characters in the history.
A few years later it became my first short film.
How does your usual Sunday morning look like?
I don’t distinguish the days of the week, because when I start a project, I do not need to unplug before completing it. My Sunday could be a Wednesday.
What is different in your style and approach to the aesthetics when compared stills and fashion films?
The differences have diminished with time, because the video, unlike digital photography, does not allow errors or the possibility of making many changes, everything must be calculated and reasoned in pre-production; for this reason, I applied this same philosophy when I started shooting with the analog in my editorials.
Surely there are differences in the composition, as it often focuses my shots vertically, with the idea of creating individual paintings. While the horizontal language of the video implies a continuity of the story, then each image must prepare you for the following or for a conclusion.
What is the one characteristic that a person should have to become successful?
I often ask myself that, I want to be honest. I believe this is a profession for rich people. Let me explain, producing your own projects, both photographic and video, requires a lot of money and time, especially at the beginning when you are not followed by production companies. So I think it is important to do a lot of research and concentrate our efforts on a few, but well-designed projects that maintain our identity.
Music is always an important part in a film that provides a frame with the feeling you want to evoke with the viewer. How do you approach choosing the sound for the film you direct? Do you know which type of music you want for the production before you start shooting?
It's a perfect question for my work because many of my videos and photos come from listening to music while I drive. I always thought that music is the highest art, I mean the ability to compose music. I did not have this ability, but music always evoked very clear images in me. Today they write to me to make many music videos, while for the fashion films it's my twin brother who makes the soundtracks with which I have perfect harmony, without too many explanations he's able to create the right atmosphere for my images.
What is your favorite holiday? What is special about it for you?
I love places full of people.
One of the things I love is watching people in their everyday lives in countries I don’t know. I am attracted to every kind of culture, but it is important for me to spend some holidays in the places of my childhood, for example in Gaeta, a small seaside town, where I spent summers as a child. It is where my first perceptions and first opinions took shape, I believe that my conscience as an observer was born in those years and in those places.
"I believe that beauty is something that upsets you — something you can not stop thinking about, it's not a stereotype of perfection, it's harmony".
Do you get nostalgic? What might affect you getting into this mood?
People who know me often make me notice that in my projects there is always a melancholic halo. Even if I represented a moment of celebration where everyone should be happy and carefree, I know that in my images the feeling is that everything is ephemeral and that will have real-life only in memory.
I am always nostalgic, the factors that awake nostalgia in me are often smells and sounds. These evoke in me past images, and when it happens, I try to store them to tell them in my shots or in my videos.
The world of fashion starves for fresh faces, unique attitude, edginess. How would you define the talent you look for to shoot in an editorial versus a commercial project? Do you think you are equally free to go with your vision full speed in both types of projects?
I believe that the environment of fashion or perhaps better, the world of creativity, is devastated by professionals who want to replace the decisions of an artist or a craftsman, professional figures who think only of marketing.
They are often filters that transform an intuitive process into a business at the expense of the creative idea.
It is ironic how often agencies contact me enthusiastic about the freedom and expressiveness present in my editorials and then impose many creative limits on commercial projects, thus leading me to reject the project.
What is beautiful in your opinion?
I am obsessed with the concept of beauty and thanks to this work I learned how beauty manifests itself in many ways and often contradictory to each other.
I believe that beauty is something that upsets you, something you can not stop thinking about, it's not a stereotype of perfection, it's harmony.
In Italy, it is said, “non é bello ciò che é bello, ma é bello ciò che piace” (“it is not beautiful what is beautiful, but it is beautiful what you like”). I do not agree, I have always hated this statement. I believe instead that we must educate ourselves to beauty, and then perhaps be able to recognize it.
"I always thought that music is the highest art, I mean the ability to compose music. I did not have this ability, but music always evoked very clear images in me".
When shooting an editorial such as Mustang when you decide to have an animal in the frame how do you solve the obvious challenges working with the horse?
In Mustang the work of research and exchange of ideas with the stylist Claudia Antonaci was very important. Mustang is a classic example of how a project can come to life and move forward with its own legs.
We started with a ridiculous budget and the idea of using an animal, like a horse, made everything more complex; then the case wanted the model with riding experience and for a true harmony to be born between him and the animal. During that work Stefano was shown as an exceptional professional, even when he had to plunge into a river in the middle of the winter at dawn, he always showed passion and concentration, allowing me to realize my vision.
The beauty of this work is what you can share with talented and passionate people like the stylists with whom I design the work.
What music do you love? Suggest three artists one should to check out.
I change very often music genre, always for my research needs.
If I had to list three fundamental artists in my formation, I would say first of all Franco Battiato, whose lyrics and the imaginary evoked by his music, represent for me a spiritual guide.
Nick Drake, I think his melodies and his voice are the perfect musical transfiguration of my nostalgic feeling.
Finally, I think there are very important artists such as Pink Floyd, Sigur Rós and the Kraftwerk, which with their sound allow me to travel with the imagination. I think I have nominated more than three.
I think that often even if I do not understand the lyrics of some songs it helps me turning them into a personal story that maybe dissociates from the original text.
What’s next? What do you plan for yourself in a professional sphere in 2019?
In 2019, there are perspectives of collaboration with professionals from different fields that are very stimulating for the realization of more and more ambitious projects.