Looking at life through Carlo’s lens

Serena Williams photographed by Carlo Allegri

This profile of Bermuda-born photographer Carlo Allegri by Jessie Moniz appeared in The Rotal Gazette. Follow the link below to the original report and a great gallery of photos.

No celebrity would be caught dead at New York Fashion Week without a trendy purse, flashy shoes or outrageous headgear. On hand to cover all the glitz and glamour of this year’s event was Bermuda-born internationally renowned photographer Carlo Allegri. The Royal Gazette recently spoke with Mr Allegri to learn more about his connection to the Island, and his career.

“I was born in Bermuda,” said Mr Allegri, 42. “My parents were working there at the time. My father, Roland, was the maître d’ at the Belmont Hotel. My mother, Gail, was a book-keeper. It was a typical island love story. I lived in Bermuda until I was six years old and then moved to Canada.”

Mr Allegri said he regretted that he had only once been back to Bermuda for a visit. He currently splits his time between New York City and Florida. When we spoke to him he was on his boat in Miami.

“I got into photography accidentally,” he said. “I was that kid in high school who didn’t have a lot of friends. I was in the yearbook club, and it was a way to get to know people. I loved the instant gratification of developing pictures and being able to see what I had shot.”

He has been shooting Fashion Week in New York for several years. He said it is very exciting, but also very tiring.

“You have eight 18-hour days,” he said. “It can be very daunting. The thing about Fashion Week is, if you ask me on the last day I will always say ‘no’, but the next year I will want to go back. When February rolls around I will be chomping at the bit to go back.”

This year his unique way of presenting each celebrity as a triptych portraying only head, bag and shoes caught international attention and he was featured in an article in UK newspaper The Guardian.

“The people at Fashion Week are all very unique individuals,” said Mr Allegri. “I had to come up with a way to highlight their unique sense of style. They are always wearing a unique tie or interesting glasses, jewellery or peculiar shoes. I wanted to highlight those items. I took out the legs and torso because that’s a bit boring. My pictures [not all of them triptychs] were used in theWall Street Journaland Time magazine.”

He failed his photography classes in university but succeeded in becoming a professional lensman after other photographers taught him what they knew. Mr Allegri started off working at a newspaper in Canada. He credited persistence with helping him to make it into the big leagues.

“What I became best known for, as a photographer, was my guerrilla portrait style. We had very little time at the newspaper. We were having to produce six and seven photo assignments a day. Back then we were using the first version of digital photography and the quality wasn’t good. We had to light everything using flash or rim lighting to separate our subject from the background. The resolution was really low.”

The challenge was to make the pictures look dramatic despite the limitations of the new technology. He developed a lighting style that was very fast.

“At the end of a press conference we would grab our subject,” he said. “I would have a lighting kit and set up in the same 30 seconds that another photographer would use a camera flash. It made a picture that was dramatically different. That put me on the map, in a way.”

He then worked for Getty Images, one of the largest stock photography agencies in the world, as the senior entertainment photographer in Los Angeles.

“My goal now is just to keep shooting,” said Mr Allegri. “Photographers often want to become photo editors. I want to be like the old French masters and never stop shooting.”

He has won numerous awards for his work including the National Newspaper Award in Canada. He was also named Canadian Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographers’ Association in Canada.

“This is not actually the first time I have been featured in The Royal Gazette,” said Mr Allegri. “In 1974, I was the youngest person in Bermuda to achieve the beginner’s swimming badge. I did it through Nambour Nursery. The Royal Gazette did a little blurb. We went to the grocery store and bought all 18 copies of the paper.”

Mr Allegri said he would love to come back to Bermuda one day for a visit, or to give a workshop or lecture. He gives lighting workshops for a photography programme in South Florida called Photo Fusion.

“I always love sharing my knowledge with other photographers,” he said.

For the original report go to http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20120926/ISLAND04/709269999

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