Anthony Boccaccio

In another life, Anthony Boccaccio must have been a Renaissance painter. His use of light, shadow and the human form take us back to a time when the celebration of the body was the challenge accepted by great artists from Michelangelo to Titian. Indeed, much of the inspiration for the nudes in this collection came from the great masterpieces of Italian painting, frescos and sculptures he saw daily while living in Rome, Italy.

The sensual for Boccaccio is more interesting visually than the erotic. Though no one could deny that this collection of beautiful bodies calls forth a certain erotic tone, it is an echo of innocence and purity. There is an Ideal at work in his photography, and although most of his models do not possess the ideal body (whatever that is!) Boccaccio is quick to say that the body is not important in itself but only as it points to and reflects the beauty and mystery hidden beneath the form.

Boccaccio began his career with National Geographic Magazine in 1971. Since then, his camera has taken him to over thirty countries in as many years. Like most photographers, he is a series of contrasts: His lens has captured the frozen landscapes of Iceland and the sweltering jungles of the Amazon. He is probably most known for his beautiful travel photography, yet while working with the human figure, his sensitivity rivals that of the great painters. Indeed, his artistic life began as a young painter trained in the classical manner. He studied classical piano at the prestigious Eastman School of Music and taught himself to play the bluegrass banjo. He lived in Brazil as a teenager and Italy as a college student. In 1995, he returned to Rome, Italy to continue his painting and to learn how to sculpt in the classical manner under one of Rome's most gifted sculptors, Alessandro Nocera.

Boccaccio's very first photograph was of a man, the figure of Hercules in the Orion constellation. He was 13 years old and had just purchased his first camera, a Mark IV plastic box camera. He took it apart and rigged it to make time exposures of the stars. He still has that first negative!

“I believe this first impulse to point my camera upward, to the heavens, is what set the framework for my future photography: to capture what can't easily be seen by the naked eye – the grace, beauty, and grandeur hidden within the human form.”

Tony’s photo Love Notes was recently featured on the BBC4 production Peep Show.

Fine Art for Men interviews Anthony Boccaccio