Portrait photographer, Ciro Galluccio’s thesis project “Defected” was inspired by his childhood memories and dreams. Galluccio used photography and video to create images that challenge beauty norms and celebrate the imperfections that make us unique. Read on to learn how this project came together and where it’s headed.

Q: What is Defected?
A: Defected is a project that aims to enhance the current trend of aesthetic imperfections, in opposition to the ideology of mass production and conformity, breaking the circle of perfection and giving voice to a new vision of beauty.

Sirijo by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

Q: How did the idea for this project come about?
A: Everything began with my photo “Golden Tears,” which I shot last summer. This was the first time I created a photograph based on a dream. In this picture, there’s a freckled girl—and the funny thing is that nowadays freckles are a trend, but some years ago in fashion world freckles were looked down upon. So I started thinking about my own experiences with aesthetic differences and a memory came to mind: when I was in primary school I had a couple of albino brothers as classmates, and everyone was avoiding them, and it made them really mad. Maybe this is the reason I wanted to talk about aesthetic diversity, so I could show how our unique characteristics are the most precious thing we have.

Golden tears by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

Q: How did you find the subjects to photograph?
A: This was maybe the hardest part of the project, and it took a very long time: mainly I used social media networks to try finding my subjects, but friends, family, and random people helped me so much! At the last minute, I discovered a few people in my area. For example, Anastasiya is Chiara’s neighbor, Leonardo was one of my classmates in University, and Angelica and Matilde live 15 minutes from my house.

Golden Vitiligo by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

Q: What is the significance of the color gold in these photos?
Gold is preciousness and sacredness in iconography. I wanted to highlight the uniqueness of people, but it’s also a reflective color in my case: if you see, the makeup I used in those pics (thanks to the help of my amazing friends Liana and Miriam and my sister) is a kind of reflective gold, to show how everyone can be unique in our world. Gold is also a perfect color on natural skin tones: it works well with black and white skin, but also with many shades of eye and hair color.

Oculus by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

Q: This project began as your thesis, what is the next evolution of this project? Will the photos be exhibited?
A: I would love to continue it, so if there’s anybody reading here that could help by posing for a portrait, you can contact me on Instagram @CiroGalluccio. I’m based in Rome, Italy, at the moment, but usually traveling to northern Italy or the south. About exhibitions, yeah that would be great, but I need to increase the number of the subjects before, maybe. And I also need someone interested in exhibiting my project, of course. Time will tell.

Kintsugi ??? by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

Q: How does the short film tie into the project?
A: The short film I created was thought of as a commercial spot for my hypothetical exhibition, but it evolved into something more. It doesn’t ask viewers to come to an exhibition, it asks them to think about the message. Thanks to the help of Alberto Brutti (an amazing electronic music artist who’s going to release his first EP soon), we created a kind of “portrait-in-motion” sequence where, in the first part of the video, the anxious mood exploded in something sacred and ethereal. I just loved shooting it, and working on music with Alberto at his studio was a great experience for me.

Defected from Ciro Galluccio on Vimeo.

Golden Freckles by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

Blue and Gold by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

Follow Ciro Galluccio on 500px and see how this project evolves.

500px: 500px.com/cirogalluccio
Instagram: @CiroGalluccio