Paolo Marchesi and his passion for photography

Words: Kate Erwin
Photography: Paolo Marchesi

Meet the Italian photographer whose all about travel, adventure, and the outdoors

During the winter months when he isn’t on assignment, photographer Paolo Marchesi can usually be found in the early morning hours on his quad with his dog Argo at La Pastora surf break in Todos Santos, Mexico. Marchesi is from Italy, but his accent isn’t necessarily Italian. He speaks the same way he connects with the subjects he photographs. He’s universal, relatable, a man of the world. Whether he is capturing an award-winning photograph of a rainbow trout jumping out the water or documenting a journey of courage of some of the most talented Ecuadorian female surfers, Marchesi’s body of work is like a soul album busting at the seams. 

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Marchesi grew up in Turin, Italy where at a young age he developed a fascination for water. After working sometime as a designer in Paris, Marchesi finally picked up a camera, he then was schooled at the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography in California. Still, it took him a few more years to finally connect his talent with his passions. Since then his work has graced magazines such as Climbing, Outside and Ski. Here, Marchesi talks to The Red Bulletin about pursuing his dream career.

Shooting through the tube in Nicaragua

THE RED BULLETIN: When did you first pick up a camera?

PAOLO MARCHESI: The first time I truly picked up a camera to take photos was when I was 19. I had just moved to Paris and was inspired by the city.

What is your favourite camera to shoot with?

My underwater camera. Shooting underwater is very challenging and magical at the same time. You never have one hundred percent control and you have to go with the flow, no pun intended. The images are always a surprise as you never know what you are going to get.

Had a great time shooting for... - Paolo Marchesi Photography | Facebook

Had a great time shooting for Juniperous. "Creating handmade clothing made of organic, sustainable materials to reflect the nature of earth, spirit and...

What was your most exciting assignment?

My most exciting and difficult assignment was photographing humboldt squid in the Sea of Cortez. It was technically very challenging as I didn’t have the options of using lights and decided to shoot it in black and white film. I wasn’t big into digital back then. Humboldt squid are extremely aggressive and have a terrible reputation. I took the assignment, but wasn’t sure I was going to come back in one piece. We were diving underneath Mexican fishing fleets over deep water, hooked to metal cables to make sure the squid wouldn’t drag us under. I was scared shitless before making my first dive, but after seeing the squid and how beautiful they were underwater, all the fear vanished and I started firing away. I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to get any decent images at that dept but after processing the film the magic happened. To this day they are some of my favourite images.

photography, ocean, squid, black and white

Diving with Humboldt squid in the Sea of Cortez

What was your most rewarding assignment?

I moved to Montana in 1999 to pursue my passion for fly fishing and started shooting the sport wondering if I could ever make a living as a fly fishing photographer. A year later SAGE (Fly fishing rods) who I had followed for years looking at their beautiful catalogues, called me to shoot all of their 2001 imagery. It was the beginning of my career as an outdoor photographer and a dream come true.

Your life is really a dream, what advice do you have to make your dreams a reality?

Only pursue what you are passionate about, that’s the only way to make dreams happen. 

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