Old age is certainly not a prerequisite for talent, because at only 19, Gino Baileau’s success is evident. He has shot cd covers, model portfolios, was featured in several art coalitions and recently just landed his first magazine cover.
He grew up in a small Italian town called Melrose Park, but decided to change his life and leave the bubble to one day establish a world renowned name for himself. He attended high school at Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst, Illinois, where he was a misfit insulated in his own creative cubicle for four years. Close-minded individuals within the walls of this school criticized him, and he used their blows as fuel to his success.
Now, studying photography at the University of Illinois in Champaign, he finally has the opportunity to network with other creatives, like himself. This is the start of the Gino Baileau epidemic.
I want to change the way people view sexy. I don’t think anybody who sees my photography gets a hard-on. People view my work and aren’t sure whether it’s weird or arousing – and that’s the point. My photography is part liberation and it gives me a chance to force people to look at whatever it is I want them to see.
What initially sparked your interest in photography and what keeps it going?
I have always been interested in art and I have always been great at it. Also, I was raised in a house full of women, so I learned to become more interested in fashion and beauty rather than sports and cars. Photography was my way to combine fashion and art. I have a passion for what I do, it lives in every vessel of my blood. At the break of dawn on a shoot, I dig deep inside of my bones and find that place where I was born to create and it gets me through
How do you ensure that your work and brand stand out amongst the masses of photographers that continue to emerge everyday?
In today’s industry, most photographers and advertisers are distracted by sex. My photos do not sell sex; I am too creative to do something that unoriginal. My innovativeness is what sets me apart from other artists. My mind will continue to birth new ideas that will visually captivate.
From who or where do you draw inspiration from and how is it reflected in your work?
Lately, I am inspired by vintage celebrity portraits by the French photographer, Gaspard Félix Tournachin. His work was very ahead of his time and was one of the first glamour based photographers in history. His photographs from the 1850’s really get into the soul of the subjects. Several of my recent photo projects have been vintage-inspired ever since I’ve become infatuated with his work. They seem unsettling because of the coloring and quality of the old images and it leaves the viewer feeling like they are being haunted by these historical celebrities.
What is one long term goal you have relative to your photography and how do you plan to attain it?
I want others to be delusional of how successful they can truly be. I am only 19 years old, and that does not make me any less confident than other artists who have years of experience over me. I hope to one day be signed with a photography agency and I am confident that I can get exactly where I want to be. I look in the mirror every morning and say to myself, “You’re going to make it. Now walk the walk.” Of course, it is a lie. I cannot read the future, but I will put up a bloody fight until that lie becomes the truth, because I refuse to be dishonest with myself.
What is one major business-related challenge you face being a photographer and how have you or will you combat this issue?
Being a fashion photographer, I have to deal with the biases of being a straight male in the industry. I was forced to suppress for years because I was tortured for being interested in fashion. It is my duty as an artist, to showcase my talent. I will not hide my passion just because I don’t fit our society’s perception of a man and what he needs to be.
Name one person that you would love to have an opportunity to shoot and why. Describe this dream shoot.
I would love to collaborate, and I’m sure I’m not alone on this, with Lady Gaga. She is revolutionary and iconic and everything that the fashion industry needs. She liberates through her musical artistry as well as her daily apparel. Everything she does is designed for her fans. Her passion goes on forever, just like her heels. Gaga is not like other artists; she doesn’t want the money in your wallet – she wants your soul. It would more than a dream to combine both of our artistic visions in one shoot. There would be so much going on, my camera would probably explode!
If you could do a dual purpose shoot that showcased your talent and brought awareness to a prevalent social issue, what would your shoot be called and what issue would you highlight? Why?
I would highlight the issue of gender equality. In this series, I would push the envelope and style models in controversial outfits that, in today’s society, would be considered butch or flamboyant. I would name this series “For Us, Bias.” This issue is not a major issue today, but it is an issue that is significant to me. Successful women are prejudged as being pretentious and cocky, but a successful man is considered normal. On the other hand, a woman in the fashion industry is normal, but a man in the fashion industry is more of a rarity. A person is a person. The faster we realize it, the better the world will be.
A picture is worth a 1,000 words. Describe the below picture in one.