High-fashion photog Sante D'Orazio talks models and meatballs
Photographer Sante D’Orazio supercedes the title of fashion photographer. Best known for his nude photos of Pamela Anderson, Sante, as those in the know call him, began his career with Andy Warhol, has a TASCHEN book, “Barely Private,” and has been featured in magazines such as Vogue, Interview, Allure and Vanity Fair.
Not only has he photographed some of the world’s most iconic models, but he’s also photographed superstars such as Keith Richards and Donatella Versace.
During the late ’80s and ’90s Sante was the king of the super-sensual photo shoot. He’s photographed all of the sexiest women alive from Stephanie Seymour to his first wife Kara Young. And now, Sante has a photography show at Christie’s. His recent evocative works are sold for over $100,000 at auction.
Who is this man from Flatbush, Brooklyn?
How did the show at Christie’s come about? Yanna Balen, the head of the Christie’s Russian Art department, jumped at the idea.
What’s the subject matter? A My early work is collectible and is a great success, [ever] since the 2005 Pamela Anderson photo shoot. This show is an opportunity for my new work to have a dialogue and a relationship with my earlier work.
Some of my pieces have sold [for] over $100,000 at auction, which is a world record for me.
Who are your favorite models to photograph? I had a great time shooting Pamela Anderson, Stephanie Seymour, Christy Turlington and Kate Moss.
Who’s the sexiest woman ever? Stephanie Seymour.
Who’s the most beautiful? Christy Turlington. And the most versatile is Kate Moss.
What’s the highlight of your career? My first job was for Italian Vogue in 1981. I shot nudes because it was what I had in my portfolio from art school.
Which art school? Brooklyn College. I started painting there with Philip Pearlstein.
Where do you live now? I’ve lived in SoHo since 1982.
What are your favorite haunts? I eat at Waverly, B Bar, Bar Pitti, Palma’s (my cousin’s restaurant) and at Mezzo Giornio for the great art dealer Leo Castelli used to eat there every day. I also love all the museums and galleries from Gagosian Gallery to Matthew Marks to David Zwirner.
Do you collect art? I have Warhol, Schnabel, Damien Hirst, Clemente and for photographs, I have Penn, Mapplethorpe, Avedon, Weegee and Man Ray.
What camera do you shoot with? A Canon digital EOS.
What did you do yesterday? I was in Brooklyn visiting my mom and at the Green-Wood Cemetery. It’s a little dead but peaceful (he laughs). I actually love the sculptures and the monuments, and the trees from all over the world. The cemetery is bigger than Prospect Park. Then, I had lunch at my mom’s.
So your mom’s is your favorite restaurant? She makes homemade focaccia and traditional homemade ziti with tomato sauce and meatballs.
You took a few years off from fashion photography. Why? My career shifted while I was photographing beautiful, sensual women. The industry shifted. So, I continued with my work and never lost my zest for the fashion industry. ... I’ve stayed true to my art form.