Lucca was born in the UK and raised between Brazil and England. Now in his early 20s, he is a professional photographer, specialising in model photography with a quirky twist. He now works between Sao Paulo and London, and has worked with some legendary photographers, including Mario Testino.
How did you get into photography?
It all started during a family trip to Italy back in 2005. I was 13 when I was taught the basics of photography by my Dad, who also works in the creative industry as a graphic designer. As presumptuous as it may sound, I did 'fall in love' with taking pictures that sunny afternoon.
At seventeen I gave up my A-levels to study at the Arts University College at Bournemouth. I was accepted without any qualifications,with only a small portfolio of eight 'produced' images with models.
The funny, and possibly lucky thing, was that since the beginning I knew I wanted to photograph people. I posted ads on websites looking for models and make-up artists without having any previous experience. I did my first shoot with a team of two models, a make-up artist and a hairstylist when I was fifteen.
A lot of your photos are on extravagant sets - how do you find these or set them up?
Finding the right place to tell your story is crucial. It is often a very time consuming task that requires a lot of patience. Sometimes though, the story or theme of the shoot arises from a specific location I might find in the streets - for example. Most of the time it's impossible to find the right set for an already-thought-of-idea in which case I am then forced to build the set from scratch.
Nowadays, I work with set designers to develop ideas and come up with a plan of what 'scene' I'd like to construct.
Depending on the project, I have to lay aside enough money to cover for all building expenses. I once spent £1000 from my own pocket for a one-off project, where a 7 foot tall cage was built.
The right scenario is as important as the camera, models, and lighting you are using. It can, like all other factors in the creative process, make or break an idea.
Talk us through how you go about visualising and taking a shot.
I prefer to work with a pre-defined location and theme. In other words, planning is essential and the pre-visualisation is more important than what happens on set during the shoot.
Having a play around with ideas on a sketch pad is a must before anything. Nothing replaces good planning. Whatever the brief, it's key to feel the 'vibe' of the shoot for as much time as possible before the day itself. Once I am absorbed with the theme, ideas come naturally. It's about living and breathing the concept prior to shooting.
Once the day arrives, and you have a crew of people looking over your shoulders, and most important, models in front of you to direct - it isn't an easy task for the unprepared Photographer. There is a lot of pressure upon you to deliver the BEST results. Taking the shot is made up of a milion things. From making sure that everyone is with their stomachs full to making sure the smallest detail on the model's fingernail is in place.
What equipment do you use?
I shoot with the Canon 5D Mk II and keep another two Canon bodies as back-up. Lighting wise, on location, I like to work with simple flashguns remotely triggered. In the studio I actually enjoy working with continuous lights, because I can control the light in a more natural way.
What appeals to you photographically - what draws you to the images you take?
I am strongly drawn to stories. Photography for me is about telling a story within a frame. Without a theme or a concept it can't work. The story though doesn't only have to be told with the 'action' but most importantly perhaps, with the lighting and 'mood' of the scene.
'Beautiful' lighting is fundamental. I sometimes spend hours trying to understand the lighting set ups of all the photographers I admire. Like anything in life, I doesn't need to make sense as sometimes the lighting isn't really planned, but I think it's important to try your hardest to study the shadows and highlights and all other information in the middle.
Do you have any advice for photographers that are starting out in their career?
The biggest tip I can give to anyone starting off, would be to become fully absorbed in everything creative. Start listening to other types of music, watch at least three films a week, read more, study art and try. I think that everyone has a strong creative flare. It's just matter of it showing up. Our creativeness is individual, each one of us has a 'style' that makes us different and attractive in the commercial world. Find out who you are by looking at other sources and express yourself meanwhile. It will all come together with time.
For more information on Lucca, visit his website - www.luccaphoto.co.uk