Italian photographer Paola Pansini is a prolific chronicler of spectacular environments, many of them discovered in Milan, Italy, where she works and lives. Whether she’s documenting a restored midcentury home in Palm Springs or choreographing one of her theatrical product shoots for brands such as Aesop and Cartier, the photographer is known for images of rare imagination and visual depth. During a recent visit to Italy, we discussed, among other topics, Paola’s career trajectory and her much admired book Entryways of Milan.
1. Tell us, how did you get into photography?
I've always been very interested in Art and the "creative world”. I started to be involved in photography during my study at the Academy of Fine Art and after during my MA in Visual Communication at University of Central England. With the camera I found a way to explain my ideas and my point of view.
2. You’ve worked with some of the biggest titles and brands. Is there a particularly memorable collaboration?
My first collaboration was with the Prada Group for 2 years, where I was in charge of all the accessories still life photography. After this experience I decided to work as a freelance photographer and then everything changed very fast. I started to meet people, new connections and opportunity, brands, magazines and many powerful projects.
3. How does living and working in Milan - such a center of amazing design - affect your work?
It’s all about Milan. In Milan I started my career, found opportunity, created connections and most of the inspirations found in my work come from here.
4. You contributed to the ultra successful book Entryways of Milan. Can you tell us about the collaboration and your favorite entryways?
Everything started with a call from Karl Kolbitz, the Art director of the book. It took me two minutes to jump into the project. The “hunting” of the Entryways was a long process and the most fascinating. The project took 2 years to be done and the result is very powerful. My photography selection is the back cover of the book "Viale Vittorio Veneto”, Corso di Porta Nuova 11 and Piazza VI Febbraio 10.
5. A lot of interior photography feels very cookie cutter and predictable; what’s the secret to setting your work apart when you capture an amazing place of architecture or stunning interior?
My photography looks very "uniform and methodical" because it is the cohesion of my view, my emotion and also my aesthetics. When I shoot Interiors it’s about my feeling in the space and my need to describe the space and the objects around me. When I shoot still life it is the opposite approach, I create a new space with a composition of elements inside.