• A portrait, a nude and a flower are three seemingly separate entities but for photographer Mariano Vivanco they become an intricate tapestry of interlocking threads. Vivanco does not simply provide his audience with a beautiful and exotic photograph but instead presents an artistic image that pulsates from the page with sexuality and the vibrancy of nature. Since pursuing a professional career in fashion photography, Vivanco has become one of the world’s leading editorial photographers. From international publications of Vogue and Vanity Fair to his work gracing the covers of GQ, Harper’s Bazaar and Numéro, his subjects have included actors, designers, athletes, singers, and other celebrities. However, it’s Vivanco’s books that encapsulate his intriguing approach to photography. the most recent being Portraits Nudes Flowers (2016), a sublime retrospective of Vivanco’s last fifteen years of captivating artistry.

  • Handsome and exceptionally talented, what I found most striking when interviewing Mariano was his intelligence and artistic sensitivity. There is great intellect and thought behind each image and in this regard, he is a gifted and astute artist in the truest sense of the word. Describing the role of floral imagery in the book Vivanco referred to these photographs as “accents”. “But they can be more than accents” he says, “they can be a pairing, be companions, the supporting act and they can even be the protagonist of the double page”. these “accents” are warmly set against the portrait and the nude. they have the ability to gently bring to the fore the naked figures simply by their presence. In this sense, the flowers remain in their unique identity whilst being very much a part of the entire design.

  • The nudes are strikingly beautiful and are a testament to Vivanco’s pure exaltation of the human form. “What I like about the nude” Vivanco says, “is the simplicity yet the complexity of the body. I can never get tired of it. It always really inspires me. The human body is the best- looking machine I’ve ever seen. the best-looking artwork I have ever seen. and every model is slightly different so each one of them inspires me. When I go to Florence or rome and I see the endless and endless artworks depicting the human body, I can relate as to why the artists produced that. That’s part of what I feel as well”.

  • Each of Vivanco’s nude images is indeed a work of art. He presents his audience with an array of varying body types, each possessing their unique shade of sexual attraction. “I like healthy bodies. Men I usually like healthy, slightly thicker. Females, I like good curves. they can be bigger, they can be smaller, I like a good line”. I was interested in discovering when this fascination with the sexually infused nude aesthetic began? “I started photographing models that I thought were striking and I guess I squeezed a little bit of wonder lust into the photos”.

  • The strength of Vivanco’s nudes lies in his ability to inject a unique eroticism that is nothing short of captivating. Models such as Candice Swanepoel emanate a distinct sensuality that coincides beautifully with Vivanco’s creativity. In one particular nude, Swanepoel’s posture is reminiscent of the metamorphosis of a flower, the seed that as it grows, springs forth from the soil before our very eyes. Bathed in sunlight, her nude body creates shadows, which are reflected against a wall. Vivanco’s nudes evoke the quality of a well-executed sculpture. Each and every defined contour seems to emerge through his expert eye. Just as a sculptor meticulously chisels away at his marble, Vivanco uses the appropriate light and shade to model his subject, to edge away at his model with accurate and fastidious precision. In achieving this tenacious approach to illustrate his nudes, Vivanco prefers black and white as opposed to colour. “It sounds like a cliché but black and white is more classic, it’s more abstract and nudes lend themselves to a beautiful black and white. At least with me but that’s not to say you can’t break rules. It can go any way”.

  • Mariano’s intriguing pathway to photography has its genesis in an eclectic childhood spent in New Zealand. Born in lima, Peru, Vivanco moved to New zealand at the age of twelve before embarking on a quest to further his education in Melbourne, australia at the age of seventeen. “I love australasia. I consider myself so lucky to have grown up there” Mariano affectionately recalled, “I think it represents the formative part of my life. I really do. It’s the part of my life where all my important passions developed. So I will always have a certain romanticism with it, particularly, New zealand. Every time I go back, I shed a little tear when I leave. And Australia, I’ll always associate with vibrancy and fun. I really enjoyed my time there. Melbourne was a forerunner to Europe and Sydney was a forerunner to how fast-paced the world could be”.

  • It was while living and studying in Melbourne that Mariano first started to experiment with the art of shooting flowers. As he revisited his previous work, Mariano was full of emotion. “I was getting an inkling to shoot flowers again, something I hadn’t done since my Melbourne days where I used to do it a lot. I dug up those photos and I looked at them as they gave me emotion. I then began photographing the flowers listening to a Sam Smith album and I began photographing them in the same way, out of focus and very dreamy. When I started laying out the book, it was mostly black and white, actually in sepia at the time and I thought wouldn’t it be great to pair some of them up with some photos of flowers to accent the book”.

  • Despite his love for australasia, london is now his home. “london is the best”. Why not New york, Paris or Milan? “ I lived between london and New york for 5 years, back and forth. I had two apartments. as I was approaching my 40s I wanted to be the most succinct and best person I could be and produce the best work I possibly could and that didn’t entail living in New York. I think it’s very hard for a photographer that is still aspiring and having a good time to break through or to grow there because the industry is very saturated with commercial images. So you can’t really experiment and furthermore, apart from not being able to experiment the industry doesn’t enable you to think creatively so you are more and more stagnant as a photographer that is still not Meisel or Steven Klein. they are amazing those two, my god, and the best New york has to offer I think, photography wise, creative and full force. I just feel that there is so much creativity in Europe and I love living in london so it only made sense to come here. the place is full of culture and dreams”.

  • Mariano Vivanco has always loved fashion and art since he was a child. Exceptionally talented and possessing an undeniable passion for life, Vivanco’s body of work testifies to his undying devotion to his craft. although considered relatively young in the industry, he is without doubt a seasoned professional whose breathtaking images will live for many years to come. a portrait, a nude and a flower can now be considered as interwoven entities to compliment the beautiful and the natural. Vivanco’s nudes shall stand forever and endure as a lasting legacy within the world of art, culture and timeless fashion.

Narcisse Magazine - Issue 6