Paolo Marchetti

The Price of Vanity


We all know intensive farming, which uses industrial and scientific techniques to get the maximum amount of product at the lowest cost and using minimal space. A practice widespread in all the developed countries.

Yet we know much less about how intensive farming actually works in reality regarding the huge business of animal skins destined to the high fashion market. I show  you the sacrifice hidden behind the ruthless values expressed by this hellish trade, and its cultural trend dominated by remorseless standards of beauty.

The business volume amounts to several millions of Euros and although the breeding of animal skins has long been opposed by animal rights movements, which led to massive campaigns against this practice especially in the eighties and nineties.We have to wonder if there is a need of new laws, or just a cultural awareness.



For example, most of the intensive farming of furry animals are concentrated in the northern hemisphere in Europe, where at the first positions we find Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands. At the same time, looking at east, China is the world leader in the manufacture and in the southeast side, we find countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam which represent the main market of snakes and many species of reptiles. At the other side, in the western hemisphere, Canada and the United States are the largest producers of furs and reptile skins, but for what concerns the crocodile skins production, in South America we have strong competitors such as Venezuela, Brazil and Colombia.

At date, I accomplished the first two chapters, in Colombia, where I told the destiny of crocodiles and in Poland, working inside a minks intensive farm. I’ll tell you this ruthless process with an unprecedented document on this terrifying phenomenon, a monstrosity in accordance with law that is perpetrating from decades, the extermination of animal species destined for the market of high fashion.



Paolo Marchetti is based in Italy. He has worked for thirteen years in the cinema industry. In his photography he pays particular attention to political and anthropological issues. He has covered stories in Brazil, Central America, Cuba, Eastern Europe, India, the United States, Haiti, China, Central Africa, Colombia etc.

He publishes his work in international magazines such as L’Espresso, Vanity Fair, 6MOIS, Sunday Times, British Journal of Photojournalism, The Guardian, Geo, Der Spiegel, Newsweek, CNN, New York Times, Time etc.

Marchetti has received several awards such as 5 times the NPPA – Best of Photojournalism, 4 times the PDN’s Award, the Sony WPO Award, the Getty Images Grant, finalist at the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, 4 awards at the POYi, the American Photography Annual Book, the ANI Pix-Palace, the Leica Photographer Award, the SDN – Social Documentary Network, the Alexia Foundation Grant and the World Press Photo etc.

Related links

Paolo Marchetti

4 thoughts on “Paolo Marchetti – The Price of Vanity”

  1. Hi everyone! Great and amazing essay by Paolo. I’ve seen this feature in the World Press Exhibition this year. Big pictures with a powerful color and message.

    What’s is hidden beyond vanity, beyond eccentricity?
    I personally think is a deep frustation, insecurity and soul emptiness as well.
    Hence, with a cocodrile shoe you can attrack attention and have something to show/say to people who sourrounds you in party, dinner or gala.
    Cocodrile, ivory, diamonds, luxury cars are the same… just another way to call vanity.

    As Mies Van der Rohe used to say, “Less is More”

    Have a great week.

  2. we have always worn leather, we may always continue to wear leather. I would rather see a relatively humane farm using a non endangered/wild species than its alternative. The true horror is the battery farms used for the meat that most people eat without a thought. No vanity there; just suffering and profit.
    and this does remind me i need a new pair of cowboy boots.

Comments are closed.