An Interview with LIVINCOOL's Emanuele D'Angelo About his Asia World Tour and Success
Talented Italian photographer, Emanuele D'Angelo, is making waves worldwide, embarking on a world tour with his range of Livincool products. The photographer has been touring since the beginning of the year and made his way to JUICE Sheung Wan on May 11 to launch his exclusive pop-up space.
Emanuele made his name photographing the biggest celebrities - Emily Ratajkowski, Bella Hadid, Winnie Harlow, A$AP Rocky and The Weeknd - just to name a few. Emanuele's success and entrepreneurial spirit has led him to become a seasoned celebrity photographer and brand founder, debuting his first range of merchandise by 2018. If you haven't heard about Livincool, you've almost definitely seen pictures he's taken of models wearing his branded apparel.
We interviewed Emanuele prior to his pop-up to pick his brain on his style, aesthetic and what he has coming up this year.
JUICE: How would you describe your style and aesthetic as a photographer?
Emanuele: My style of photography is very raw, I would say I capture the moment, I try to create a relationship with the subject and capture the subjects in very intimate or personal moments. So, I like to communicate so people recognize that it’s me taking the photos
J: So, you’ve been a photographer for a while, Who or what would you say are your biggest influences?
E: I started with a website blog in 2009 to 2010, I would look to photographers that had websites of their own, for example; party photographers – mostly because that’s how I started, I worked at parties and would go to Fashion Week and shoot people. Photographers like Cobra Snake. I was living in Rome back then and when I just moved to London, I was looking back at those photos and I felt “This is a party I want to be a part of”, those photos weren’t shot by conventional photographers.
I also looked at the masters of fashion photography too, like Helmut Newton and Pierre Bourdain – all the classics. At the time, I also really liked (Nobuyoshi) Araki’s work too. I began meeting people in the industry and I would look up people that I felt I wanted to work with for example a director or someone who was above me in terms of career and I felt one day I would be like them. I wanted to travel to those places and do the things that they are doing right now.
So for me, different people, different situations and different artists influenced my journey as a photographer.
J: So you say you have relationships with all of these people that you photograph, How did you get to develop these relationships and have all these great people and celebrities to shoot?
E: I would go to Paris, London, and Milan and I started meeting people at fashion week. Then, I moved to Los Angeles around three years ago. Being in Los Angeles, as soon as you are able to work with a big model or celebrity you are exposed to other ones – because everyone sees your work. If they like it, they’ll reach out to you. It’s a very small world at the end of the day. It’s easy to meet one, then another one, then another one and I have a lot of friends in the past years who work in fashion or big companies. Through them I met models and celebrities and then developed relationships with them.
J: So why did you move to Los Angeles?
E: I first moved to London and even though I love the city, I was over the weather. I really wanted to move to New York City but I didn't want to be in the cold. I'm a big fan of the Lakers... so then I decided to move to Los Angeles.
When I moved to Los Angeles there was this huge cultural shift - a lot of people were moving from New York City, London and Europe to Los Angeles. While New York City is still one of my favorite cities in the world, it's way too cold to live in - I'm an Italian that grew up in a warm country!
J: Can you name three things that have impacted your success?
E: First was a medium format camera that I bought in 2017, second was when I shot Emily Ratajkowski before the Met Gala in 2017. We were already friends, but ever since then, we started to work together more often. That really changed everything because she really helped get my work out there. In terms of people that I've worked with - Emily, Bella Hadid, and The Weeknd have really impacted my success.
J: So what is your favorite thing about being an artist and a photographer?
E: The traveling part, being able to travel to certain places is one of the main things I love. Being able to meet a lot of artists, from photographers and musicians. And of course, I just love taking photos.
J: What is it about film that you love? Why do you prefer film over digital?
E: Honestly, I really like the feeling that film gives. I love the warm colors and the fact that you can't see the picture right away. So there’s a bit of waiting, and then you get to see your final work.
Honestly, it’s the color and feeling through these photos. You can also reproduce with digital, I’m not saying that it’s better than digital. But it’s about assessing what I have to shoot and whether it has that effect – it’s very timeless.
J: Do you think equipment matters a lot when creating a personal style as a photographer? Do you need the best film camera?
E: No, I don’t agree at all. That’s why I never reveal what kind of camera I use. It’s not about the camera, it’s about your eye. You can take an amazing photo with a $20 camera. You can have a $30,000 camera, but if you don’t have a certain eye or know how to use light, it's not going to look great. It’s all about the vision and your aesthetic. Obviously then, if you have the vision, aesthetic and you have a good medium then it’s perfect. But you’re not gonna become an amazing photographer if you go out and get yourself the same camera that other photographers use.
J: What do you like about Hong Kong?
E: I love Hong Kong. Firstly, it’s very international. I love the landscape, I love the architecture in it…I’d probably have to say it’s one of my favorite cities in Asia.
J: Really? So what inspired you to do an Asia Tour?
E: Because I’ve been coming to Asia a lot in the past year for work. I met a lot of people and everyone was interested in my brand, which is why I wanted to come back and do pop-ups and bring the brand out there. It’s all about being global these days. I wouldn’t do something that is just in one place. Obviously, I’m from Europe and I live in the U.S, so it’s like those two markets are already a part of me, but in my opinion, just tackling those two continents are not enough.
J: Would you branch into a full fashion line?
E: For now, I’d like to keep it very merch, very simple. I don’t want to get into the fashion routine like showrooms, presentations, sales. For now, I wanna keep it online, doing pop-ups and some stores – but nothing too accessible, I’d like to keep it very limited so that demand grows. If it’s too accessible it kind of kills the brand.
J: Last question, what are you most excited for now? Anything coming up in 2019?
E: I’m excited about bringing the brand all over the world. This is beginning of May and I already did three continents this year. Pop-ups in Europe, two pop-ups in the U.S and now four pop-ups in Asia. Looking forward to going to the Middle East and Australia for the last few months of the year. It’s basically a world tour. It was the main idea to go all over the world as what I’m doing right now, I’m probably unable to do forever, it’s a lot of work and a lot of travel, but for now I enjoy it and I think it’s important to do it.
Special thanks to those that came to the LIVINCOOL Asia Pop-up party on May 11th! Party-goers enjoyed music, cocktails provided by Tanqueray Gin and LIVINCOOL's merchandise.
Scroll down to see Emanuele's work and images from the latest pop-up party event!
Photos by: Samuel Fung/CLOT, Reeve Lee/CLOT
Photography Assistants: Henry Cheung/CLOT, Alan Tsang/CLOT