Saverio Truglia & The Book of Mormon

Jan 9, 2013
Photographer Spotlight

by Maria Luci

When I came across Saverio Truglia‘s latest Time Out Chicago cover of the hit Broadway musical The Book of Mormon, I knew I had to share. I immediately got in touch with Saverio to discuss the shoot:

How was this Book of Mormon assignment presented to you? 

The photo editor, Martha Williams, calls me for their conceptual and character covers. I have a great relationship with the magazine. She just called me up to talk about a picture of a Mormon who is getting more attention than he’s used to, and likes it. Pretty simple.

Were you familiar with The Book of Mormon musical before this shoot? 

I’m a huge theater fan. My wife works in professional theater, so of course I knew the play. I’ll go see it if I can find some tickets. It’s pretty sold-out through spring.

Did you feel any trepidation with taking on shoot with a somewhat mocking tone?

Privately, I have a mildly politically incorrect sense of humor, so this was nothing to me. The humor here is that Mormons are not guys we run up to every day, but run up to us. I wonder if the Latter Day Saints would think it funny? Imagine how funny it would be if we shot the Pope.

How did you prepare for the shoot?

This is a typical assignment for me in that it required me to figure out the context we’d shoot the subject in. I researched locations on Flickr as Chicago is pretty well documented and found an alley with a classic “Stage Door” sign. I thought it would be a place where this moment might actually happen. I then did the casting myself. I needed someone without conventional attractiveness who could also act. Sadly most models are too pretty. This guy is an improv actor and was a perfect fit. He brought a lot to it and didn’t need much direction.

Behind the scenes.

What was the shoot like?

The shoot was very relaxed though I had all the usual suspects: photo editor, wardrobe and prop stylist, make-up artist, digital tech, and an assistant. We ate Potbelly’s for lunch and my dog walked around set. I had a ton of freedom to design the picture, though it was a true collaboration. The magazine imagined the idea and did the final edit. I made my recommendations on all the details, styling and I art directed the retoucher, Brian York.

Watch the video I edited of the shoot here:

Any anecdotes from the shoot day?

When I showed up in the alley to shoot the background plate this little dude walks straight up to me and is all, “Hey man you got a camera? I need my shit on YouTube. I need a video.” I was like, “Yeah, I got a video camera.” 10 minutes later, little guy’s got a press kit. Just proves that all you need to do is ask. Problem is that his rap was so foul-mouthed, I can’t share it.

Little dude/rapper extraordinaire.

What was the client’s reaction to the images?

We all laughed when the first images started coming up on the computer screen. With a creative idea so sarcastic, it’s easy to go too far, so we worked on how to tell the best story we could without getting too cartoonish. I think Time Out is super-happy with the image. I like that they think of me to shoot character portraits for them; it’s one of my most joyful things to do.

Did you learn anything through this assignment? 

It’s harder than you think to find a white, short-sleeved shirt on the racks during a Chicago winter.

View more of Saverio’s work at

Tags: photography saverio truglia the book of mormon time out chicago