INTERVIEW WITH PHOTOGRAPHER AND DIRECTOR STEVEN LEVI VELLA

Steven Levi Vella is a photographer who shoots fashion and artistic photography. He is also a creative who works on staging for shows and videos, and a director for music videos, short films and commercial projects. The 25-year-old has been active in the fashion and photography scene for quite a few years now. Yet it was two years ago that his style seems to have struck a chord. Over the years, he worked on numerous features locally and abroad. These include Vogue Italia online, international magazines like Superior and Institute, as well as Sunday Circle, Pink, and Style on Sunday locally.

Photography has always been his favourite way of telling stories, and it was that, coupled with his education, that led him to take on the role of director and creative. As a director, he has worked with some of Malta’s biggest names, like Ira Losco, Maxine, Christabelle, Airport Impressions, CRUX, Monroe and Davinia. These collaborations have also extended to the stage, with his work as a creative with singer Christabelle making it to the stage of Isle of MTV, the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, and the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon, Portugal.

Eve: You’ve made significant splash on Malta’s local scene with your work for internationally renowned bands, artists, and publications. What was it like?

Steven Levi Vella: It’s been a great ride, especially when considering the fact that I only started working professionally as a photographer some two years ago. Through my work in photography, I got to try my hand at music videos and film-related work, which is also what I studied. My style seems to have struck a chord and was asked by Christabelle to direct her performance in Malta, which then lead the way to the Eurovision journey. Since then, I’ve got to work on many productions and also some very high-profile festivals, and I am extremely grateful for all this. It’s great that artists feel they can trust me with evolving their vision for a song into a visual spectacle.

Eve: What has been the single greatest challenge in your career so far?

SLV: Every artist as their own story to tell. Finding a balance between their vision and mine, while also taking into consideration the audience who will be consuming it, can be quite tricky. Indeed, it’s very challenging to marry all that into a product that says what you want it to say without being overwhelming. Having said that, this is also what continues to push me to be better.

Eve: What’s the hardest part about being a photographer and what’s the best?

SLV: I think the hardest part is knowing there’s a story that can and should be told and finding out that the subject is scared or unwilling of telling it. As a photographer and director, I feel compelled to bring these stories to the fore in full but access or information can be quite limited sometimes.

Eve: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

SLV: That I’d be able to control time! There simply aren’t enough hours in a day and I often find myself stressing over how quickly time’s flying.

Further reading:

Exclusive: Christabelle on preparations for Eurovision and inspirations in life