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Ivan Cazzola

Italian-born Cazzola made a name for himself as a rock music photographer but his true passion lies with capturing the spirit of suburbia

Ink, irony and insolence typify Ivan Cazzola's photography. Based in New York, subjects include "models, artists, rock bands, cinema stars, gipsys and gangsters, posh ladies, whores and transsexuals". His saturated images portray people on the drifts of society, mostly his friends, as well as a few people he doesn't like. Having shot 'Phonz says Black' for the Milan based brand, he has recently turned his hand to directing music videos, shorts and feature length films. Dazed spoke to Cazzola while he was working on his first movie and preparing a photo exhibition with his most representative shots.

Dazed Digital: Where are you from and where are you currently based?
Ivan Cazzola: I come from Turin but Milan, London and New York are the cities I mostly work in and these are three places where I feel most comfortable.

DD: What interests you about photography?
Ivan Cazzola:
I am interested in representing what I see, giving the chance to who is watching my job to see things by another point of view, trying to keep a personal view  and using always a direct and honest language.

DD: What features/places/people do you seek to capture?
Ivan Cazzola:
I love suburbs, streets full of lights, dirty Brooklyn’s deli, Hackney’s walls, my characters come from these scene and they live their personal madness.

DD: You're working on a movie, do you approach moving imagery the same as photography?
Ivan Cazzola: The approach is the same, first of all human condition which interest me most of all in an tribal and anthropological way. I prefer stories about toxics, gangs, adrift people. In a visual way I try looking to consonances, a continuity, I try to build a bridge between photography and cinema can permits me to test different shooting and editing techniques.

DD: Your photos feature lots of ink, is tattooing another strong interest?
Ivan Cazzola: I love tattoos and people who got them, it’s a part of human madness I always look for.  I think tattoos are personal point of view of life. They characterize people and in some kind of way underline everybody uniqueness.

DD: Is your photography autobiographical?
Ivan Cazzola:
People I usually shot are my friends, people I hang out with or I’d love to,  it’s quite possible I shoot people I don’t like. So I try to represent my world.

DD: Do you remember the first photo you took?
Ivan Cazzola:
The  first photo I took was to my mother, she was sitting in  a bambu  peacock tail chair, the ones used a lot in 70s or 80s, she was wearing a spotted bikini, straw hat and white sunglasses, I was seven or eight years old.

DD: Who are your favourite visual artists and writers?
Ivan Cazzola:
A visual artist  I love is Mary Ellen Merk, my favourite photographer is Enrique Metedines. I love writers like Breece D’J Pancake and Harry Crews. Talking about artist I would say Paul Mc Carthy and Ron Muek. Talking about directors I mean Koen Mortier, director of an amazing movie “Ex Drummer” .

DD: What can you tell us about current/future projects?
Ivan Cazzola: It’s an intense period: will be out soon  my last project, a fashion film shot at Coney Island, Brooklyn and soon I will present a book containing my most representative projects of the last years. I am also working on a touring exhibition in Milan, London and New York.