From his early days in photojournalism to his work with the greatest artists in Holywood, we had the pleasure to learn a little more about the “Master of Light”, the award-winning photographer Michael Grecco. His unique style is characterised by dramatic lighting and an amazing ability to use storytelling throughout his photography.
Production Paradise: You started your career in photojournalism before specialising in portraits and celebrity photography. What did you learn during this time that still shows in your work today?
Michael Grecco: I would first say by shooting every day in the real world you learn to put your head behind you. Meaning if you beat yourself up for missing a shot, you have missed 6 more better shots. So, the practice of working for a daily newspaper becomes a Zen experience, not for the imagery, but for the exercise.
The most important part though is the storytelling ability. I took that visual storytelling sensibility, learning to put the who, what, where, when and why of a news image, into a magazine story or ad campaign in a more lyrical way. A way that tells a curious story that has integrity as it sits behind the imagery.
Production Paradise: Can you tell us something that most people don’t know about you?
Michael Grecco: I am totally silly. I sing silly songs all the time around the house and in the shower.
Production Paradise: You are known as the ‘Master of Light’ among your fellow colleagues. How does lighting really influence your approach to photography?
Michael Grecco: For me, the light is the emotional aspect of the imagery. It is a tool to tell the story but it’s one of the more important tools because it sets the tone of the “story.” In simple terms light can be open and happy or dark and mysterious, but more importantly, light moves the eye around the picture. If you can control it, you can control the viewer.
Production Paradise: For you, what are the key elements of a good picture?
Michael Grecco: Well, the image has to work, but ultimately, photography captures a moment in time. If that moment is not there, there is no photograph.
Production Paradise: How do you choose the projects to work on?
Michael Grecco: They choose me really. Right now, I am working on a documentary, a book and gallery and museum shows around my punk music photography of the time. My staff told me I had to do something with the work, it was too good not to. That is my personal project.
As far as work projects are concerned, clients are pretty good at knowing what you can do and where your talents fit with what they are trying to do. If the project is really off, I will turn it down for sure, but that is pretty rare.
Production Paradise: What has been the most inspiring project you have worked on so far?
Michael Grecco: A number of years ago I was asked to photograph the most important entrepreneurs in the world in any style I wanted to. The client reacted to some toned black and white image in my portfolio, but when I began the shoot, I “sculpted” each image individually with props and lighting and created a body of work that stood out as unique, even to this day. Given that type of freedom and having a client believe in you like that is rare and inspiring.
Production Paradise: What’s your take on Production Paradise?
Michael Grecco: I always thought it looked good and had a great reach. I am thrilled to be working with Production Paradise now.