Tony Nourmand & Peter Doggett
“I don’t think any photographer today has managed to capture a decade in the way that Mario captured the absolute glamour and decadence in his 1980s photographs” - Joan Collins.
It was the decade of Dynasty and Dallas; shoulder-pads, white linen suits and splendid excess. Big was beautiful, greed was good, and the backdrop to everyday life was an intense struggle for global domination. TV, movies and music reflected the public appetite for beautiful people living extraordinary lives. Mario Casilli captured those beautiful people at their best, defining forever the look of 1980s pop culture. Stars adored him, he made them look fabulous, his amazing photography immortalised them. Casilli’s images helped create global superstars and they trusted him; who else could have shot Sally Field for Playboy or convinced Barbra Streisand to pose in her underwear.
Between 1957 and 1981 Casilli became one of the most prolific Playboy photographers, shooting no fewer than 57 of Playboy’s legendary Playmates, countless other pictorials and several covers. Casilli was given key card #2 to Playboy’s legendary chain of clubs; #1 being reserved for the magazine’s boss, Hugh Hefner. As a young photographer working for Paul Hesse at his legendary Sunset Strip photographic studios, Mario Casilli mixed with the biggest names in Hollywood. His ease with high profile subjects and beautiful women would come to define his career.
During the 1980s Casilli began shooting the most high profile TV and music stars in America, capturing the excess, the glamour and decadence of the decade through its most flamboyant household names. The biggest shows on TV were to define the decade. Shows making the cover of TV Guide would likely gain 3 or 4 ratings points so portraits of the stars were big business. Casilli turned them into an art form and his soft focus, high-gloss vision would come to embody the 1980s American dream.
From Moonlighting, Miami Vice, Knight Rider and Baywatch to Fresno and The Golden Girls, the master photographer turned his lens to popular culture and redefined it. Casilli's style was a natural fit for rock and pop stars of the 1980s. The greatest musicians in the world queued up to be his subject. From Barbra Streisand to Lionel Richie, Dolly Parton to the Bee Gees, Casilli captured camp sexuality like no other photographer.
On the 23rd November, 'Reel Art Press' shall release Mario Casilli, the first book dedicated to Casilli’s decade defining portraits. With a foreword by Joan Collins, this explosion of Eighties high camp and glamour features full cast portraits from the decade’s most infamous TV series, along with musicians and movie stars. It features a collection of Casilli’s finest work, from classic portraits of Joan Collins, Joan Rivers, Oprah Winfrey and Brooke Shields, to iconic images of Kim Novak, Lucille Ball and Bette Davis. Casilli gave us the cast of Dallas, Dynasty, The Colbys, Knots Landing, early shots of TV megastars Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd, David Hasselhoff, Linda Carter, Farah Fawcett and Don Johnson. Casilli’s interaction with his subjects has left a legacy of subtle erotica, women are seductive, dripping with diamonds and attitude, the men are powerful with a tongue-in-cheek appeal. Mario Casilli’s images eternally defined a decade of popular culture for the whole world. His art was to show us how much fun the biggest stars were having, and insist we join them.
You can pre-order this sensational new book featuring Joan here! ...