Door 3: Oberto Gili

All Photograpy by © Oberto Gili

    Trends can be seen in each artistic field, so also in interior photography. The last few years saw the rise of perfect, clean, a little bit stiff but still cozy homes, which magazines like Kinfolk together social media and bloggers pushed. But then there are interior photographers, who have been here a little bit longer and their focus is slightly different like François Halard or the Italian photographer Oberto Gili.

    Giorgio Armani's Home, designed by Peter Marino, 1980

    The later was born in Turin in 1946 and spent most of his childhood between his birthplace and the summer at his grandfather's farmhouse in Bra. His interest in photography was sparked early on as he had a little camera since his childhood. He went on to study physics in his hometown but after seeing Michaelangelo Antionio's film Blow Up he wanted to become a photographer.

    Mario Scheinchenbauer's Home in Milan, Undeground Interiors, 1972

      In the early 1970s he quit his studies went to London to work as Michael Joseph's assistant photographer, who worked mainly in advertising. After a year he left and settled in Milan to work for the publishing company L'Esperto. There he started working on a book with the project title Crazy, Mad, Outrageous Interiors for which he traveled the world. After everything was photographed L'Esperto cancelled the project. As Norma Skurka, the New York Times Interior editor at that time, saw the pictures, he liked them and released them together with Gili as Underground Interiors in 1972.

      In the early 1980s Oberto Gili moved to the United States of America to New York where he started working for House & Garden and New York Magazine. After making a name for himself, he collaborated with Condè Nast and Harpers magazines in the USA and around the world. In recent years he has returned to live in Italy, in San Michele di Bra and shares his time between his native Italy and New York with his partner Joy Sohn, also a photographer.

        Photo: © Oberto Gili, courtesy of Rizzoli

        What makes him stand out is his preference to a lived-in aesthetic. To Oberto Gili people who hire professional decorator's are suspicious as very often, according to him, these homes then lack soul. This is also visible in his approach to taking pictures as he mainly works with natural light and tries not to use any artificial lights. Next to his first book he also released books like Home Sweet Home: Sumptuous and Bohemian Interiors, co-authored with Susanna Salk, in 2011 or Domus: A Journey Into Italy’s Most Creative Interiors in 2016, both published by Rizzoli, to great critical acclaim.