LSD is based in Milan, Italy and is a collaboration of highly creative professionals directed by partners Marco Casale and Paolo Dall’Ara. Marco, born in NYC and raised in Venice Italy, agreed to the interview. Together Marco and Paolo have built a collaborative team specializing in photographic services, post-production, 3D rendering and have branched out into directing.
How many years have you been in the business?
LSD was formed in 1998 by Paolo and me, Marco. We are both photographers, Paolo specializes in post-production and my focus is on production, we both direct all the CGI produced by LSD.
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Paolo’s background is hyper-realistic illustration painting and he’s evolved into digital illustration embracing photoshop and photography. My knowledge of photography was taught by my father, a great pioneer of advertising photography in Italy.
When did you take your first photograph?
I am a son of a Venetian woman, naturally I took my first photograph in Venice with a 35mm Pentax.
What led you to photography?
As a photographer my father traveled, I wanted to be with him, for five years we traveled photographing more than 800 museums around Italy, it was a great introduction and start to my career.
Who do you admire from your profession, past or present, and why?
I admire photographers Mario Mulas for his black and white portraits and Nadav Kander who never fails to surprise me with his new ideas and experimentation.
What is your creative philosophy?
I love to create in a team – the art director, my partner Paolo, all the crew participating to the creation of LSD images.
Can you tell us about your state of mind when you are shooting/creating?
I am immersed in my vision of the story I want to tell.
Could you describe how you create your images? What do you look for?
I’m inspired from real life, from art, movies, personal experiences; all these influences fuse and transform the essence of the image created – a distorted vision of reality.
What is your work philosophy?
The workflow is fundamental. We consider and time all the needed steps. Creatives (art and photographers) must work in perfect harmony with producers, account reps and clients. There must be mutual respect between everyone on the project, all team members, agency and clients – this allows us to produce great projects.
What are you looking for thru the viewfinder? What thoughts go thru your mind?
Once I would look through the upside view of an 8×10 camera, hidden by a velvet black cloth, or through a Hasselblad viewfinder. Now things changed, I see a digital image on a monitor. Also, images are now mostly composed in postproduction and not a unique unrepeatable ’one-shot’. So my way of concentrating has changed too. But one thing has not changed, I ‘see’ my image completed before I shoot it.
How would you describe your brand?
Our brand is LSD. Paolo and I consider LSD a research-lab that gathers together both old and more recent technical skills to be utilized to create our images: from analog to CGI and further. Together we create, fuse all these skills, and harness them, influencing our art from concept to the final delivery. Our goal is to leave our clients with more than what they had asked for.
Who are some of your influences?
Movies: Kubrick and Tarantino for their composition, vision, Fellini and Antognoni for human relations – man/women relations. Illustration-Rockwell. Theatre- Fura dels Baus for its corporal dynamism. Well…many more!
Would you have any advice to artists/photographers just starting out?
Yes, a lot! I would love to teach photography to possible future artists. I consider analog photography the base to start from. Black and White shooting, developing and printing are so important. Then technically move on to whatever they feel, whatever inspires them. Business-wise public relations is a big part of the work, social media and marketing too! But above all; be yourself and nobody else in all your art.
What are you passionate about, gets your blood pumping, or gives you joy?
Music, I sing and love jazz (Coltrane…) Sailing and Yoga. Makes me serene.