Raphael…his name is synonymous with traveling the earth with the most beautiful women in the world. Known for infamous Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition covers and spreads, and his phenomenal images that have graced the pages of Sports Illustrated book: “Exposure” (one of the most looked at photography book in America last year), Raphael Mazzucco is one of the most sought after photographers in fashion. His life: him in the Bahamas achieving the first handbra swimsuit cover with eight of the most well known models in the world. Exotic, beautiful women running around topless; all of which respect Mazzucco for the beauty he captures with a click of a shutter. Each model singing the same song, “he is truly a great guy and an exceptional artist.”
It is Raphael’s honorable but passionate approach to his artistry that has women rearranging schedules to shoot with this rock star photographer. And it is precisely this reverence in his character that allows him to capture the sexiest photos in the industry today. His Victoria Secret and Guess Jean Campaigns were ground breaking and inspirational to say the least, and created some of the most beautiful raw images in fashion history. One of these campaigns alone easily boasts over a billion views.
But it is not only Raphael’s talent behind the camera that is responsible for his tremendous success. With a nucleus of close family and friends; his wife Lisa- Marie who exudes strength that is second to her beauty, his son Sascha, who at fourteen already plays guitar like Slash, a father who is just a gardener the way Divinci was just a painter, and a mother who has supported each and every endeavor her son dares to accomplish, Raphael’s greatness was inevitable.
His agent is Michael Lange, as sharp as razors with a talent of understanding Raphael’s eccentricities and tides, and as most people in Raphael’s life Michael has become more like family than a business associate.
Surrounding himself with only the best, choosing Lange as his agent seemed natural, “Michael’s like the confident brother you wouldn’t want to mess with,” explains Raphael. But Lange sees it the opposite “Raphael is often the one who gives the inspirational talks. It’s supposed to be my job to tell Raphael everything will work out, letting him know things will turn out fine when jobs sometimes don’t run as smoothly as planned. But, as crazy as it is, it’s usually him easing my mind!”
Lange continues, “I really believe that Raphael stays sane in this business because he’s all about the work…focused. He places his efforts purely for the gift of living a creative life. For the most part Raphael limits the parties, well…for the most part,” Lange giggles, “at times it’s as though he doesn’t realize his own fame.”
As one of Raphael’s biggest fans and closest friends, I have been fortunate to experience his art in the making. Hanging out until the wee hours in the morning helping him create…pouring resin into ten foot square inch frames of the most daunting feminine silhouettes. Sounds of laughter fill his Montauk studio as paint dances in the air across the room against 15ft high photographs of nearly naked super models. Raph’s most impressive talent, making anyone within arms length realize their own artistic talent, embracing and including all those, whether they’re eight or eighty, in the creative process. Everyone is expected to throw paint and get dirty, and in the end, another masterpiece is created.
I have come to admire that Raphael exhibits the same comfort and excitement whether he’s meeting an Italian movie star or the guy contracted to landscape his yard. His eagerness and zest of life is contagious, which is definitely intentional. He has a true desire to see everyone exceed their dreams just as he has.
One of four brothers growing up just outside of Vancouver Canada, his folks have always been hard working solid people. Knowing his parents, who even at the late age of seventy-one, recently came out to Montauk to transform Raph’s acre yard to a wonderland of sand paths and rolling hills; the dad outworking both Raph and I double measure, allowed some insight into the enigma of Raph. More than being generous and living with a good heart, more than a rare and powerful talent, more than his unending positive energy, Raphael has attracted the life and success he lives because he knows to tackle big jobs one step at a time and to shoot to exceed the goal set.
Raphael’s aspirations didn’t always include being a world renowned photographer, as a child, unbeknownst to him, Raph created his first of many artistic collages. He accomplished covering every inch of his bedroom walls and ceiling with pictures of professional soccer players. Perhaps that was the start of his talented, detailed eye for photography, but in that moment it served a different dream; Raphael Mazzucco’s journey to professional soccer.
Considered one of Canada’s most brilliant forwards, he participated in the 1984 Olympics played in Los Angeles. Beginning this career and the first of a series of impressive achievements at the tender age of 16, Raphael was signed to play for both Blackpool England and Roma, Italy. His career highlight was achieved while playing for hometown Vancouver Whitecaps in the semifinals against Washington DC in the NASL Playoffs, scoring the last goal ever for his team which folded the next year. Within a month photographer Bruce Weber, who discovered Raph at one of the games, created a Calvin Klein Campaign around this Canadian heart throb. Artist Peter Beard expresses his belief, “sometimes out of a bullfighter comes a great writer and out of soccer has now come a great artist.”
And the rest is history. His mantra “Passion plus hard work equals a life worth living,” is exhibited in each task he performs. His self titled book designed by Giovanni Russo and published by redworldeditions. com is a beautifully lush printed and bound retrospect of Raphael Mazzucco’s career, art and photography spanning two decades, truly illustrating how impressive he really is. With praises from French Vogue claiming Raphael Mazzucco their “favorite new artist in the world” after viewing the luxury work of art, and with books flying off the shelves and his art shows selling out around the world, Raphael Mazzucco is truly “amazing,” to steal verbiage directly from his favorite word bank.
Even more remarkable is the film “Beautiful Deep,” a documentary giving a glimpse into an extraordinary talent. With so much excitement surrounding him, Raphael’s perspective? Simple…“What a life, what a life this is we get to live!” M