Personal Profile: Claudio Cerquetti

Claudio Cerquetti, Managing Director of Fantasy at Work is one of the busiest and most
distinguished photographers in Thailand. Friends and business partners for over a decade with
Samui Phangan Real Estate Magazine we were fortunate enough to catch up with Claudio for an
interview for the magazine and take that secret peek into the life of this successful photographer.

Claudio you have been a long term resident of
Koh Samui and a well-respected and professional
photographer in Asia for many years. Could you tell
us briefly about how you first came to Asia and when
you started your career?

After 33 years working in Italy with professional
photography for architecture and a publishing
business I begun also working in Japan, the country
where I go more often for various activities. I used to
spend my holidays in Samui, this is going back 16
years ago. Lamai Beach, in particular, reminded me
of a Caribbean Island where I had previously lived and
worked many years before.
Associating with good prospective business, lovely
climate and in general a high quality of life, I have
made my move again.

It is very obvious that you love your work, all your
work is done with your very special Italian passion
that shows in all details, where does your inspiration
come from?

Confucius apparently said “Choose the work you
love and you’ll never work a day in your life”.
Photography for me is the celebration of vision and
then also a celebration of life. Inspiration is created
by a coincidence of circumstances: it is made by
the interaction of memories and present reality,
which ignites a feeling of “being in the presence of
beauty”. And when you begin to shoot, you create
first the picture inside yourself and technique makes
it come true.
Technique is the bridge from an inside world of
visions, from deep within the photographer’s brain,
and the external world that everyone can experience.

What would you say makes a good picture stand
out from the rest?

When a person browses through my portfolio and
holds on for one more second just to look at a
specific image, …that is “the one” which stands
out from the rest. The key is combining together
several beautiful stereotypes, keeping in mind
fashion and the evolution of the buyer’s tastes
along the years. Talking about myself and not
strictly about profession, the photos I like the most
are the ones which were part of a multi-sensory
experience I have had in that specific moment,
which involves other senses, such as a sound or
a smell, the breeze on your face or the salty water
in your mouth. It is a very subjective and intimate
sensation which makes the shot very amazing
and emotional sometimes, just for me, evoking
a personal full-framed memory… often probably
absolutely meaningless for other viewers.

Which style of photography is your favourite and do
you have one photo session that stands out from the
rest over your years as photographer?

“Anantara Angkor breakfast sales shot”, for the
luxury market, in a remote top of a hill near Angkor
Wat, in Cambodia: setting up the shot directing
11 people, working in pitch black in the middle of
nowhere just to create an emotional “vision” to sell
a product, two hours before sunrise. The result is an
alchemy of “blind” and hyper effective team work
mediated by the photographer and superimposed to
his mind preview.

Unforgettable for me. Less for the viewers and the
staff, probably. You can find it on my website.
So many years and so many 1,000’s of photos is
there one that stands out in all this me?

Yes, an ant a millimetre long, drinking from a drop of
water on a flower petal.
It taught me so much in terms of photographic
technique that I am so grateful to that small being for
all what happened after that shot.

What has the advance in digital photography made
on your work?

Working in Thailand for the worldwide market, with
high speed delivery of retouched images would not
be possible without digital imaging.

Locations and weather conditions seem to be a
crucial aspect to a successful picture. How do you
handle these unpredictable factors especially on an
island like Samui?

Just keeping on coming back on site until the
weather conditions re-establish. And co-ordinating
the work of villa managers, gardeners, housekeeping
and engineering departments, that need to prepare
the place to be presentable for a shooting after a
thunderstorm, for example.

Do you have one special Claudio photography
secret that you would share with our readers?

Yes: make it hard, take is absolutely seriously. I always
prefer to undertake the most complex and challenging
technical path. The longer and more detailed
approach, really pays. It is the most critical and time
consuming, but it is the only way for me to create a
winning shot which my clients really find usable to
increase their sales.
“I approach the whole as if it was a tight close-up”.

Which camera and lens are your main choice?
I work with Hasselblad Digi Pro, and Canon with
lenses which go from 12 to 350mm of focal length,
plus quite extensive rich lighting equipment which
fills 14 Samsonite’s; a lot of extra luggage fees to
pay at the airport when we travel out of the island
for international assignments. But 99% of the
photographer work is culture, visual analysis and
lighting. The camera is nearly non influent. As for a
chef “it’s not the pot, is the spot”.

So many years successful on Samui, what is so
special for about our island?

My clientele is made of highly professional executives
in the hotel business and in real estate who need to
sell their products relying on specific images. I am in
my elective environment, dealing with sharp people
on a tropical island. My clients and I talk the same
language, and they never regret investing on their own
images using our services.

Is there one certain photo you are still trying to take?

A photo of my girlfriend, but she hates to be

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