Digital FeaturesThe InnocentsMichael Paniccia
(left) Blazer and Skirt Valentino Top Vassilis Zoulias
(right) Both Looks Emporio Armani
(left) Coat North&Mark Shirt David Hart Pants Krammer&Stoudt Bag and Socks Thom Browne Shoes Florsheim
(right) Shirt dsquared2 Pants Georgio Armani Bag and Socks Thom Browne Shoes Florsheim
Jumpsuit Chanel Hat Chanel
(left) Dress and Shoes Valentino
(right) Jumpsuit Alexander McQueen
(left) Blazer Valentino Shirt David Hart Bag Thom Browne Jewelry Ali Grace
(middle) Top Land of Distraction Pants Laurence & Chico Jewelry Ali Grace
(right) Suit and Shirt David Hart Bag Thom Browne
(left) Dress and Shirt Vassilis Zoulias
(right) Suit and Polo David Hart
Dress Laurence & Chico Shoes Thom Browne
Dress Laurence & Chico
Both Looks Thom Browne
Blazer and Skirt Valentino Top Vassilis Zoulias
(left) Coat North&Mark Polo and Pants David Hart Shoes Florsheim
(right) Total Look Thom Browne
Total Look Emporio Armani
Coat Dior Dress Dior Had Dior Shoes Dior
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Dress Thom Browne
(left) Suit Polo David Hart Jewelry Ali Grace
(right) Suit Polo David Hart Jewelry Ali Grace
The Innocents · Michael Paniccia 1 / 1


Michael Paniccia


PHOTOGRAPHY Michael Paniccia CREATIVE DIRECTOR Andrew Basile Stylisting Nicolas Eftaxias Styling Assistant Soffia Michailidou Hair Jerome Cultura @ L’atelier NYC Agency MAKEUP Deanna Melusso @ See-Management Agency Prop-Stylist Matthew Sporzinski Location Greenwich Connecticut MODELS Brayden Lipford @ Soul Artist Mgmt, Niall Walker @ Soul Artist Mgmt, Lawson Taylor, Arne Olson @ Soul Artist Mgmt, Vaughn @ APM New York, Sasha Mart @ Silent Models CAMERA Leica S (Typ 007) with Summarit-S 70 f/2.5 ASPH. (CS) and APO-Macro-Summarit-S 120 f/2.5 (CS)

‘The Innocents’, a fantastical and abstract tea party story by Michael Paniccia and the Creative Director Andrew Basile, reveals a world where their eccentric innocents never find the way out of the magical labyrinth and into reality, and remain instead constantly caught up in escapism.

Your fashion photography seems more arty than commercial. Would you agree?
That’s so great to hear! As a traditionally trained fine art photographer, I would agree that my work is more artistic than commercial. A lot of photographers struggle with finding the balance between commercial work and art. Finding a balance is key to achieving success both personally and professionally. If I find myself doing too much commercial work, I will generate a creative project to keep a balance. I’m continuously creating new art which is, typically, all lens-based art.

Do you prefer to photograph on location or in the studio. Why?
I definitely prefer on location, because locations present a lot of opportunities that are unexpected.

As a New York photographer, do you find your city inspiring enough?
New York is all about change. That change happens so often and so quickly that it is not only inspiring but remains relevant.

You photographed a fantastical story, ‘The Innocents’, for the S magazine. What’s it about?
We wanted to create an editorial about a tea party in a garden. We were lucky enough to be offered a fantastic garden with oversized boxwood hedges that were grown in a way in which it felt like a labyrinth. The foliage was lush and ripe with texture, including many fallen leaves, as it was October in the US. While the story was photographed during the fall, we had a spring-like mood and concept in mind. These sentiments were evoked with our decision to color the trees and bushes so they resembled a spring color palette. The color altering also adds a more abstract element to the environment.

The costumes, the props – somehow they make me think of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Have I got it wrong?
Yes it is easy to think of Alice whenever tea is involved, but we looked at it more as a separate world where the characters literally live in the garden and can never leave it, no matter how hard they try. Their eccentric clothing represents a certain way in which they entertain themselves and live their lives together in this dreamlike space.
It is as much ‘Grey Gardens’ as it is ‘Alice in Wonderland’, when the eccentricity takes over and the characters’ innocence makes everyday life an episode of deluxe escapism.

The technical side of the picture processing is very unusual. Did you experiment?
The most rewarding part of creativity is when something happens unexpectedly. Because of that we always plan, while looking forward to when something just happens that enriches the concept. Those accidents are elaborated upon and help make the story unique.

The preparations, the concept and the realisation – it all seems very complex and precise. Please tell us a bit about the team work and the whole production. Is this a typical approach to the way you work?
Typically I don’t work as closely with a Creative Director on my shoots; however, for this story, I was honoured to work with Andrew Basile as it was crucial to have his insight throughout the entire process. This was a large shoot involving a large team because the space was complex. We walked through the garden, pairing locations with specific looks. Our planning process is extensive with references that were sourced and put together by Andrew and myself. Andrew curated and guided the process so everything stayed on course. Our stylist worked with him and myself to pull clothing that is relevant to both the story and the season. In this story, Nicolas, our stylist, bought masks. When the models put on the masks, they were magically transformed and an unexpected element of strangeness was added to the story.

How important is it to be able to realize one’s own ideas? How does it feel when a project like this, that has taken quite a long time to produce, is finally published?
It is essential to the creative process to be able to realize something freely and fully.
There are so many times when something is required of a shoot, that doing pure editorial becomes a creative release of expression. What is very exciting is to approach a project, idea, or concept but not to hold on to it as a binding creation that cannot change. When you try to do something that is exact and does not change from the original planning, you miss many opportunities for uniqueness. Allowing the team members to contribute creatively, the hair stylist and the make-up artist to add their genius, the models to do something off or strange, and providing everyone the room to both contribute but also to stretch, is essential. We have a fantastic post production retouching genius named Max who adds so much magic to the final product, as well as eliminating those things that we do not want, which all ends up making every part fit together cohesively and seamlessly. Total cooperation is essential and that is the genius of any shoot - great talent working to do great work.

Which camera did you use to take the pictures and how was it for you?
I used the Leica S and I love the camera! I really enjoyed the latitude of the Raw files. Additionally, working in medium format was such a pleasure. The additional shallow depth of field and the lack of distortion were mind-boggling. I would love to add a Leica S to my camera collection.