We had the good fortune of connecting with Pietro Milici and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Pietro, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I am from Palermo, a city in the south of Italy. Normally when I mention where I am from, everyone thinks about one thing: Mafia. Some people laugh to avoid the underlying fear that word brings to everyone, including me. When I was a child I had multiple unfortunate chances to see events that shouldn’t have been seen by a 5 year old, but in some way, those experiences made me who I am today. I was lucky to have a family that was never involved in anything related to the mafia, and that protected me as much as possible from witnessing anything that could affect me negatively, although sometimes things just happened in front of me and they couldn’t do much to shield me. As I said, all those things made me who I am today. Thanks to my parents I was able to travel when I was a teenager, experience different cultures, and have completely different experiences. Those small contrasts between my city and others, made me understand that that was not where I wanted to live my entire life, so I started traveling alone at the age of 16; Europe, South America, etc, until now, that I am stable in the US. Of course, those are not the only experiences, my life is full of wonderful memories and moments you can only experience in those parts of the world. And those are the most important things I share today, through my photographs, my words, and my actions. I am who I am because of the environment I grew up in and, most importantly, because of the people with whom I was able to share my life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I shot my first photo when I was six years old( 1990). A photograph of my father and my mother hugging each other. We were in Rome. I still have that photo with me, it is a reminder of how everything has a meaning and happens for a reason. I care deeply about photography, it is how I express myself and my point of view to the outside world. I am inherently interested in this discipline as a way of conceiving the city, the architecture, the people, their emotions, and their stories. I search for the unexpected, the untold, the overlooked, and reveal any hidden facets that the subject – be it a person or a city street – might withhold. Today I travel between New York and Miami and my work is mainly based on architecture/interior, and portraits. “I love how architecture can be a portrait of the society and the world we live in, and how a portrait of a person is the structure of the life each one of us lives every day.” It has never been and it will never be a smooth road! Some moments are the best you will ever live and there will be others where you will need to breathe deeply and think about the next idea. Moving from Italy to Spain, then back to Italy and now to the U.S., is a testimony that being a photographer is not an easy ride. And living in a new country is basically starting each time from zero. I never think of myself as special or different from other photographers aside from having a different eye and different experiences. I bring poise, enthusiasm, and a professional demeanor to every personal or commissioned photo shoot, because I deeply believe in the use of the image, and in its power to communicate and give feelings.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would start with a morning at the beach. Then probably going around to see some Architectural Deco construction on Ocean drive. Then I would mostly spend the afternoon in Little Havana, Calle 8, Domino Park, and do some bar-hopping. And depending on how the night goes, The Setai, Arlo, The Regent.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, I am where I am today because of my parents, my brother, and my wife. As a photographer, I need to thank some people that helped me, taught me, and opened my mind showing me a different type of photography: Simone Molinelli, Pedro Vicente and Jordi Bernadó. One book that I always bring with me and is very important to me is “Historias Marginales”, by Luis Sepúlveda.