Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Photography Interview - Paul Louis Villani

As a new person to the wonders of art on the web my first impression of Paul came from meeting him at a few walks around the Botanic Gardens. With a dominating hieght you can be fooled by Paul being a dangerous person but his demeanor, friendliness and smile dismiss all of that in an instant. And this is all before he starts picking up his camera.
When he does get his hands into the artwork it seems that light, sky, trains, instruements and models are his bread and butter. His extensive collection of shots vary from all around Melbourne's industrial scene burning vivid colours and images into your mind. From trains, models and automobiles everything that stands in front of Paul's wide angle becomes a vivid story layered in history.

VC - What inspired you to first pick up a camera?

PLV - Mum. She was always the designated photographer at all family events, eventually becoming official wedding photographer at a few matrimonies along the way. She wasn't a trained pro but she loved capturing people at play. Other inspirations come from my earliest memories of band and musician photography. The covers of albums and the covers of The Rolling Stone magazine are definitely some of the first things that piqued my interest in what a photographer can do.

VC - You have a heavy influence of music in your photos and, evidently, you are a musical person at heart. If you had to choose any band to photograph the album art for, who would it be and what would you think you’d like to do?

PLV -  Oh dear... only one band?? ;p
I sometimes feel a little strange about being so "into" the era of music from 1966 to 1976... I say this because I was born in 1970 and logistically should've been influenced by the mid eighties to the mid nineties but...
The imagery that was created for and about musicians during that time (late 60's early 70's) still inspires me today.
So, to answer your question (before I blabber on about music for the next 10 hours!!! hehe!) I would love to photograph musicians like Muse, The Killers, System of a Down, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Plant and Krauss, Jack White, Sarah Blasco, Missy Higgins, The Arctic Monkeys, Peaches and Wolfmother... You can see why it is very difficult to narrow that all down to just one!! :)
The way I'd shoot them... well that would all depend on their brief and their imminent needs but if it was up to me it would be something avant garde... create a new and visual world within a controlled setting and let the musicians shine whether that be by their own personality or by creatively nurturing an alter ego yet to be exposed... that would be joyful photographic challenge!

VC - Your fascination for rust and grime in industrial photos seems to be boundless. Have you ever dismissed items that are too clean?

PLV - Too clean... LOL!! :D
I'm sure I've walked past many "clean" scenes and just put the camera away but these scenes can sometimes be (visually) absolute magic!
Minimalistic vastness, bland hues and different shades of grey... to be able to photographically "see" more than what is already there, that can be the recipe for some pure art.

VC - Are freight trains better than passenger trains?

PLV - Yes. ...and no! Passenger trains are cool but freighters just seem to have rustic and charismatic qualities. Before photography took over my life trains were kind of passé' in my world.
It wasn't until I spent some creative time in country Victoria that I began to understand and appreciate the whole "rail" thing and the robust beauty of a freight train.
We are all intrinsically drawn to things that have qualities we admire or aspire to... I often wonder if that's the reason why I enjoy capturing trains in general.
They are strong, powerful, dependable and necessary, all things I wish I was, all things I aspire to be as an artist and as a human being.

VC - If you had to run quickly out of the house as it was on fire would you (with everyone else from your house being safe)?
a) pick up the camera to ensure you had photos of a burning building.
b) pick up your guitar to play a concert for the firemen and the neighbors
c) pick up the timetable for the next Melbourne - Sydney train to make sure you didn't miss a good photo opportunity
d) all of the above.

PLV - LOL!! Without a doubt the answer is D!! Naturally I couldn't help myself but to take some piccies of the event... and yes, if there is a Guitar in my hands I'm going to start singing and probably scare the firemen away (which would be bad because of the fire!!) and yep, wherever a good photo opportunity is, I'll go!


  1. So cool,
    what a great bloke PLV is, a talent and the best hugger in the world hehe...

    Lisa J

  2. Rad to the power of sick.

  3. Excellent work a well deserved accolade to my favorite Photographer great work guys!

  4. I love Paul's work. He is a great photographer and a lovely guy.

    Mel K

  5. Love your work Paul, awesome!