Product photography and still lives may seem simple to shoot, but they’re harder than they look when you take into consideration factors like lighting, placement, and color palettes. Graphis Master photographer Robert Tardio makes it seem easy.
Raised in the outskirts of Washington D.C., he studied art history, photography, and film, and received his BA with honors in fine arts. He moved to New York City to pursue work as a photographer and opened his New York studio in 1987. He works on advertising, editorial, and design assignments, and has received numerous awards in recognition of his creative efforts including a Clio and an MPA Kelly award. He has also been recognized by numerous publications, including Print magazine, Communication Arts, Art Direction, Graphis books and journals, PDN/Nikon, and the APA Awards book.
Tardio’s photography masterfully captures subjects with brilliant attention to lighting, color, and composition, and his still lifes display remarkable technical competency, turning simple objects, including cosmetics, household items, and more, into works of art. As Abbe Novack, senior producer at BOSE, one of Tardio’s high profile clients, says, “His brilliant creative mind, coupled with his humble, egoless soul, makes him the rarest of rare talent. He has an inherent ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.”
Here is a snippet from Robert Tardio’s interview:
What inspired or motivated you in your career?
I have always had a love affair with photography, since the age of twelve. I found an old 35mm camera from the 1950s in my father’s closet and never turned back. I enjoy both the technical and creative side of crafting imagery.
What is your work philosophy? What do you like best about photography?
I think, like most still life photographers, I am a control freak. I love the fact that I (often together with a stylist) am in control of all elements of the shoot. There is a real sense of ownership in the final outcome.
Who is or wasyour greatest mentor?
I would have to say my parents, who supported my interest in a creative profession and instilled in me a certain work ethic, and my uncle, who was a commercial director in NYC. He showed me that there was, indeed, a career path in creativity.
What is the most difficult challenge that you’ve overcome?
One of the hardest things to overcome as a creative professional is self doubt. You have to constantly reinvent yourself, and you’re constantly comparing yourself to your contemporaries. You have to see it as a club that you’re a member of simply by your desire to create, and let that push you to be better and explore new avenues.
To read more of Robert Tardio’s interview and discover other great artists, check out Graphis Journal #372, which can be purchased online at graphis.com.