Phillip Wong Photography

Italian Vogue – Intense Silhouette

          I used to describe the difference between working for European publications with America publications like this: In Europe, as a photographer, an artist, a creative, someone outside, with a wide mix of influences and resources, I could propose something, and while editors might not understand completely, they trusted in that background and allowed me to produce the piece.

         In America, I described publications as having a “Donald Trump mentality.” The people in offices, cloistered and separated from the trends and developments and people on the ground, dictated that “this was the way it was.” This was the way it was going to be. And because I was simply hired with a camera – I would do what I was told. (I was defining this “corporate” way of looking at the world, in the 1990s). 

       Italian Vogue editors didn’t always understand what I was trying to describe (a cross between imperfect Italian and overly complex English), but they often let me go ahead. They had products or trends or parameters which they wanted to cover (they had writers already working on an article), but they were looking for “creative,” “different,” “interesting,” visual images.  (Not surprisingly, those were some of the first words I learned in Italian.)


         I had been looking at textile shops and in New York, found some stretchy tubular material (I later found was used for undershirts), and bought a few rolls of it. In Milano, I tried wrapping it, and liked the form-fitting quality of the material – but didn’t see what I could do with it.

         Alberto Nodolini, and Luca Stoppini, handed me off to Vogue Pelle to shoot some handbags for a story. I saw the stark composition and silhouette of the bags, and wanted to contrast it with the forms, shapes and curves of the human form.

         The difficulty of accessories has always been the proportional difference between any accessory and the human body. When other items are added to the mix – they can create distractions.

          They let me run with this: