Filippo Mutani – The Backstage Diaries

Filippo Mutani

The Backstage Diaries

Originally being a reportage photographer, I landed into fashion quite randomly, being assigned by an Italian magazine to follow Karl Lagerfeld in his 2009 Venice Chanel Cruise fashion show.

I was immediately more attracted in the before and after, in the work and humanity behind the fashion shows, than in the shows themselves. Assignement after assignement, fashion week after fashion week, “The Backstage Diaries” is now quite a body of work, collecting 3 years of fashion backstage shootings, mainly between Milan and New York City.

“The Backstage Diaries” have been widely published (A magazine,, Vanity Fair, Elle France, by the others) and have been awarded with international photographic prizes such as IPA, NPPA, and WPGA.

I hope that “The Backstage Diaries” will become my first photographic book in a very near future.




Filippo Mutani is based in Milan, he teaches reportage and communication at IED Institute and at Il Sole 24 Ore Master School.

He is a worldwide contributor for Getty Images, represented for licensing by Art+Commerce.

His work appears in T-The New York Times, Financial Times, Newsweek, The Guardian, Internazionale, Touring/National Geographic, Elle, Grazia, Cosmopolitan, Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair, IL, Max, A magazine.


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Filippo Mutani


16 Responses to “Filippo Mutani – The Backstage Diaries”

  • “The Backstage Diaries” have been widely published (A magazine,, Vanity Fair, Elle France, by the others) and have been awarded with international photographic prizes such as IPA, NPPA, and WPGA.”


  • Have to side with Jim on this one but, a moot point, as it isn’t our show

  • I agree with Jim. BUT, I loved these images, and he does work in an industry that gives a huge damn about reputation and credibility. But back to the pictures… fun series, though I didn’t really see anything happening back there that gave any sort of insight, a lot of people standing around with blank looks on their faces. They would make for a lovely book though. Easy on the eyes (not just the subjects).

    Definitely too many images aimed upwards… big space above, partial person below… we don’t really need to see that angle more than once.

  • Like 3, 8, and 15 . . . just pick one, we get it.

  • These strike me as technically well-realized pictures of models. The captions indicate that they are, indeed, pictures of models.

    I find it most interesting when considered in the context of the previous essay, “The Living Art of Risqué.” One might say that essay consists of pictures of strippers. Yet somehow I see people. Very human people. To see them as strippers requires a significant adjustment of perspective. Here though, try as I might, I just see models. What are they doing? Modeling. I trust these women have lives beneath the clothes and makeup, but it’s not being communicated through the photographs.

    Of course it’s possible that the message is that models are vain and shallow and have no lives behind the glamour? If so, that’s far from being a unique perspective and, imo, far from being accurate as well.

    I note the statement mentions the work aspect as well as the humanity. I know that modeling is hard work, in it’s way. Unfortunately, I’m not seeing that in the photos, either.

    I don’t mean to be overly negative. The photos are nicely done. I’m just not getting anything meaningful from them? Am I simply missing it? Or are they just intended to be pretty pictures of photogenic women? Beauty for beauty’s sake? If so, I’m okay with that. It’s just that the line about “work and humanity behind the fashion shows” suggested something else.

  • “The photos are nicely done. I’m just not getting anything meaningful from them?”

    Kinda with everyone here, however, I think perhaps that is the point, that there is nothing meaningful to be had from the fashion industry. This essay does reinforce my personal view of the business and the people involved as being pretty vacuous.

  • Nice pictures, but I agree the title he suggests something more intimate than it then looks in the photos…

  • The fashion industry is interesting just as long as you’re interested in fashion! Paolo Pellegrin did a very similar essay although I did find slightly more intimate.

  • When I read the word, “fashion,” I kind of groaned a little bit, because, while I admire the skill and talent of the best fashion shooters, it seems to me the importance of the genre is vastly overplayed in the photographic world. In reverse of my normal practice, I read comments before I looked at the essay. I thought this to be one time I would likely agree with the sour-world viewpoint of Jim.

    But now, having looked at it – the photos are superb. And in the end, that is really all I care about. I am glad to have seen it presented here. It does not matter to me if someone else has done work in a similar vein. If we make that the criteria, then no one will ever shoot anything again, because it has all been shot. Yet, each eye, each shot, sees something a little differently than any other.

  • Frostfrog. Yes, I agree, generally nice photography although I could do without the pumped up mid-tone contrast.

  • 5, 6 & 16 I find interesting.
    However as a body of work these pictures don’t tell me what it feels like to be a model. The tension, the boredom, the excitement (if there is any) – where are they? There is nothing about the off time of the models – however they might relax. There’s little to indicate a diary – which implies inside and personal.
    I will not be buying the book.

  • After reading the backstory and after the first viewing of the slideshow…I agreed with Jim and some of the others’ response to the show. But, as I viewed the show a couple of times over I began to re-think my first impression. More of what I was watching was not a narrative of a compelling “human condition” photographs or a story of a day in the life of a hard working fashion model…but it was to me a beautiful selection of photographs (for the most part) of a variation of a theme involving composition, color and subtle shifts in form and detail that caught my eye. The use of the model as an object in the composition strongly added to my overall impression of liking most of the images.

    I little off topic…I have been reading about your Miami workshop with interest and read that as part of the workshop there was going to be a final print viewing and slideshow of the weeks’ effort. As I live in South Florida and will be participating as a finalist in the Miami Street Photography Festival, in conjunction with Art Basel, I would like to know if that print and slide show could be open to others outside of workshop participants.


    David says “Yes” to your question.. best thing is to get in touch with Candy.. candy at burnmagazine dot org .. she will know all the info!


  • I think it was not intention of the photographer to make a social reportage on the fashion industry. I think about this essay like a visual diary with some interesting images. The gaze in the first, the shape in the fourth or the light in picture N° 7, the colors (symmetry of colors) in N°18 are really well seen and well made. Just my opinion, but I like it!

  • Some very nice images. What I get from this series is an attention to the surreality of play-acting within the wholly constructed reality of the fashion world and it’s trappings. Images 11, 14 & 17 give the impression of one passing through the veil into an alternate space, physically and conceptually. Image 20 also does a nice job of exposing that juxtaposition of real and surreal.

    Visually, my favorites are 3,9,16,21… Beautiful.

  • I kind of enjoyed the ‘easy on the eye’ visuals and could relate to this as I have shot something similar:

    I don’t believe this tries to make any loud social commentary, but I do hear the voices of those who say its a bit thinly layered.

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