“One of my fondest vacations taken with my family was documented using solely disposable cameras” revealedStefano Azario, renown children’s photographer; Referring to a trip driving up the west coast in an RV with his family. We caught up with the father of five to find out what the plan is for Father’s Day weekend. Between kicking off summer in their new Upper East Side townhouse and celebrating two decades shooting for VOGUE Bambini; Azario and petitePARADE chat about shooting the perfect image of your child, traveling and keeping your kids stylish, year round! “Children grow out of clothes. I mean, they ARE growing. Combine new options in their wardrobe as the season’s progress!” raves Stefano. That’s the message petitePARADE is relating to the US, step out of the mentality of being minimal for the sake of kids growing out of their clothes. Embrace age, live in the moment and keep great photographs, as they’ll last forever."
pP: What will you and the family be up to this Father’s Day?
SA: I must admit that typically it’s Mother’s Day that’s quite celebrated. We just moved into a new house, so this year we’ll celebrate father’s day. Most likely relax with my children and spend the day together. My five kids are ages 23, 21, 14, 9, 6, so it’s a full house!
pP: For the perfect, frame-worthy picture, do you prefer shooting candid or posed shots?
SA: My basic advice is always the same, it’s about the moment and the relationship. I try to keep eye contact with the child when I photograph them. If at all possible, I keep the camera by my side not in front of my face. Often parents, will take photos from above, but it’s important to get down to the child’s level. If it’s a baby, lay on the floor or bed to truly capture the essence of the moment.
pP: Tell us about some of your favorite pictures, framed in your home?
SA: We have a lot of framed pictures of the family. I print them quite big and it makes them very iconic. From the birth of each of my children, and the first time one child meets another, Sunday mornings, the kids in bed with mommy playing, it’s those momentous occasions I greatly remember.
pP: What are your top 3, most picturesque, family-oriented travel destinations?
SA: We did a great vacation once. We rented a camper van and drove up the west coast to Oregon. I shot all of those pictures with disposable cameras, not worrying about exposure. What’s amazing about photography is the element of surprise. Light leaking into the canister and the flare from the sun might affect the contrast of the color in the picture.
pP: You’ve worked with VOGUE bambini for quite some time now, what was your favorite photo shoot with the magazine?
SA: We had our twenty year anniversary issue, which I shot from cover to cover. Every time I shoot, I approach it fresh and open-minded. My very favorite, was telling the story of my childhood; It was me as a little boy: the good, the bad, the silly, the sad. I had a curly wig made and put them on the model. From dreams of riding around on an elephant to the memory of my father passing, or being bullied in school. These were all transformed in front of the camera and in a twenty page editorial in the March issue of VOGUE bambini.
pP: I’m sure the most challenging age to shoot is that of babies, what do you recommend to parents trying to get the perfect shot of their little ones?
SA: A very simple background, soft light and no shadows. The eyes are the window to the soul. In a picture, you’re trying to capture a piece of their spirit. The feeling of wonder and awe. My pictures are always extremely simple, but capture exactly that.
pP: When looking through a lens, what elements of the background do you look for to coordinate with a child’s outfit?
SA: Sometimes you go for contrast or matching. It really depends on what the fashion is all about. Recently, I shot a campaign for Diane Von Furstenberg and the GAP. We had huge origami animals matching the dresses of the models. Matching played a big part in that shoot but often contrast is key. I like children fashion that keeps them children, nothing too mature.