In your life you have taken 4700 pictures, as many as a journalist takes in a week. Do you drop some of your ideas?

Marketing must serve a purpose. It helped me to use the beach pictures to sell other pictures, other ideas of mine. I’m currently working on a project about the indigenous populations in Central and South America. I can do this today, but had I done it twenty years ago, no one would have cared for it.
Today I like to be put in front of problems that I wouldn’t deal with on my own. That’s why I’m accepting assignments like, for example, from the New York Times who sent me to Rome to shoot the Pope’s Angelus prayer.

After twenty years, what makes one of your pictures immediately recognizable, even if the subjects and the context change?

That is something that the buyer sees. They tell me: we want a Vitali picture.

When you are doing corporate assignments, do they ask you for that even more?

In corporate assignments I always try to add something of what interests me the most. If I shoot for a bathing suit company, some of the people in the picture will have one of my images printed on a suit. I take the picture following the company requests, but I add that personal touch that makes everything more interesting and unique.

Do you know at what point of your path you are now?

Yes, absolutely. I know if I’m with a gallery I shouldn’t be with, I know where the mistakes are, why some things sell and others don’t. I’ve got some great galleries that don’t sell anything but do excellent expositions, and others that are less interesting but sell a lot. I decided, for example, to stick with some not-so-great galleries that sell a lot.

If you stop selling, will you give up photography?

Absolutely not. If I enjoy doing something, I’ll keep on doing it.

Enrico Ratto, "Massimo Vitali: I want to see what people are up to" in Maledetti Fotografi, August 6, 2016.