Today, we present you with something slightly different: an article that was originally published in a printed magazine.
But first some background information. Photographer Gianluca Colla was recently assigned to shoot the cover for the Italian edition of National Geographic. The magazine cover (above) shows the portrait known as La Bella Principessa (The Beautiful Princess). This portrait had just been attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci, which, as you can imagine, caused a rather heated debate amongst scientists, historians and enthusiastic art lovers.
Arianna De Micheli, who works as a web editor for Photographers.it and the photography sections of Italian newspapers LaStampa.it and IlGiornale.it, met up with Gianluca and interviewed him about his unusual assignment. Arianna was also kind enough to ask us if we wanted to post the interview here on our blog – an offer we were more than happy to accept.
So with no further ado we present Gianluca Colla’s story, written by Arianna De Micheli. Enjoy!
“I’ve always been a huge fan of Leonardo Da Vinci,” says Gianluca. “So when I received a call from National Geographic about a possible Da Vinci painting they wanted me to photograph, I was excited like never before. Some years ago, an art collector bought a colored chalk-and-ink drawing on vellum, which seems now to have many common characteristics with the unique Leonardo painting technique, and the story is about showing what the common points are. The only downside to this assignment was that National Geographic already had a layout in mind, so I had to make images following some directions. It didn’t make the assignment any less appealing; it just made it more difficult. In fact, I had to make a picture with two hands with white gloves holding the painting, showing the signs of time on the paint, with a black background.
“Exposed like that, it doesn’t sound tricky, but when you get on the site and you find out there are almost 8 stops of difference between the painting and the hands with white gloves, you definitely need to find a good solution. Plus, the painting was glued on a wooden tablet so instead of being dark, it was glossy. Not exactly the easiest subject to illuminate… (more…)