Over his 30-year career, Dubai-based photographer Antonio Saba has photographed intricate lifestyle and fashion scenes for luxury brands such as the Waldorf Astoria and Maserati to Editorial work for Vogue Italia and Architectural Digest. Like most artists, he always tried to commit a piece of himself to his commercial and editorial assignment work.
A friend of Antonio’s had previously introduced him to Christina Mazzantini, a collaborator of the famous art critic and television personality Vittorio Sgarbi. Christina made the introduction to Vittorio, who loved Antonio’s work and was happy to lend his expertise. After many conversations covering the history of commissioned art, patronage, and the Church, Vittorio, Christina, and Antonio had created the concept for “Chasing Beauty”, a book Antonio was thrilled to compose.
It has been a team collaboration, with Vittorio, Cristina and I. They helped me out with the whole concept…rebuilding up the sequence of the pictures in a crescendo from Memory, through Journey (Wander, Wonder) up to Dreamlike (Oneirism). Also, they helped me massively with the selection, that is really hard for the author to take care objectively.
Selecting the images was only part of the battle – approximately two-thirds of the 79 photographs were sourced from Antonio’s last 8 years of commercial and editorial work, reprocessed in Capture One, and sequenced into three chapters: Memory, Wander Wonder, and Oneirism. The final chapter is mostly made up of new work created to embody the dreamlike feel permeating many of Antonio’s images.
Oneirism: An abnormal state of consciousness in which dreamlike illusions are experienced while awake.
Working with complete creative control was both demanding and freeing for Antonio as he continued to push the limits of his gear, crew, and imagination. He has been documenting his progress with behind-the-scenes videos, like the one below for the Grotta Giusti shoot:
‘Naiad Nymphs at Grotta Giusti,’ which eventually became the cover of the book, was shot in a natural spa grotto, with 100% or so humidity. My Cambo/Phase One technical camera took one hour before I was able to use it. My Profoto B1 has been used inside some white coolers in the thermal lake in order to use them underwater.
Throughout the entire process, Vittorio Sgarbi and Cristina Mazzantini supported Antonio as curators and editors as the original project has evolved to include an exhibition of images from “Chasing Beauty” to debut in Milan this upcoming March. Further exhibits are in the works in Dubai and Tokyo by the end of 2018.
Speaking about the early reception, Antonio says:
Touching wood, all the private views of the image have been so far very rewarding, and I have been “wowed” by everyone who I showed the drafts of the book so far. I am really confident in a great success of the book and of my new fine art productions.
Although Chasing Beauty is still preparing for print, Antonio is already entering pre-production on his next fine art project. More information about the book and exhibits are available on his website.
See more of Antonio at antoniosaba.com!