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Friday, May 1, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Sebastian Piras, Photographer and Filmmaker

Sebastian Piras was born in Italy, where he lived until the age of 18.

Before settling in New York City, where he has resided since 1985, he lived in England, France and briefly in Germany, India and Brazil. Although photography has been his main lifelong interest, Piras’s other interests, including filmmaking and culinary arts, have also played integral roles in his career.

Piras’s main photographic subject has been portraiture. His exhibition,“Artists Exposed,” contained a partial collection of captivating portraits of known and unknown players in the international arts scene, such as Andy Warhol, Roy Liechtenstein, and Robert Rauschenberg. David Ross, former director of the Whitney Museum, who wrote, heralded Piras’ photos as: ” …probing and extraordinarily beautiful portraits of artists…that ultimately produces winners at both ends of the camera.”

Piras has done extensive work for television, producing opening title sequences for such hit shows as the Apprentice, Martha Stewart and The Cut with Tommy Hilfiger. Also he has co-produced several segments for CBS, ESPN.

His documentary Taylor Mead Unleashed, biopic on the Warhol factory actor poet Taylor Mead contains some scenes with such NY cons Allen Ginsberg and Quentin Crisp.

Piras has worked on several features as still photographer and is also a certified steadycam operator.

Two books of his photographs were published , one of which was released in bookstores in October 2008. Piras photograps have been exhibited worldwide.

Peachy Deegan interviewed Sebastian Piras for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What made you want to move to New York?
Sebastian Piras: was living in London for four years and with some English friends we came here on a brief trip..and just ended up staying here.. some of the Brits are still here also.

What is your first memory of taking a picture?
With a Diana camera (10 cents) when I was 10 years old...I was shy and took pictures from inside my house looking outside.

What are your favorite cameras and why?
I don't really have a favorite camera, but Hasselblad is my favorite if i had to name one.

What artists do you admire the most
Francis Bacon, Rauschenberg, Eggleston...their art came truly from within...

What clients are the best to work with and why?
Those who pay promptly and hire you for what you do rather than for what they would like you to do.

What inspired you to open Il Piccolo?
I wanted to take a break from the film biz and I also love restaurants and culinary arts.

What is your favorite place to be in NYC?
Where I feel there when I am there...

What is your favorite shop?
NBA store

What is your favorite drink?
Good red wine

What is your favorite restaurant?
I like Raoul's , Luciens and Pastis(for lunch)

What is your favorite NYC book?
I always think of Picture of Dorian Gray but taking place in NYC

What is your favorite thing to do in NYC that you can do nowhere else?
Ride the subway at 2 am till 5 am and read (it's a $ 2 experience you can only have here)

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
Most things with the "NYC Capital of....." and "NY # 1...."
are overrated.
Underrated: the great unsung talent that NY offers..we only hear of the people that are masters at using PR famous but not necessarily talented.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
That when i grow up I'd love to be a goat cheese maker.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
Email is best..
sebastian @

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