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Polly Brown Shoots Special Things for Gucci

Photographer Polly Brown documents personal mementos for Gucci’s latest Instagram campaign.

Gucci’s marketing efforts have recently gone in unexpected and creative directions. In March, the brand tapped influential Instagram creators to make Gucci-inspired memes for their #TFWGucci campaign, but their new social teaser is more subtle and meditative.

Shot by Polly Brown, the posted Instagram images preview Gucci’s 2018 cruise collection without showing any clothing at all. Instead, the focus is on personal mementos brought to the shoot by members of the Gucci team. Accompanied by descriptions of why each object is meaningful, the series is an up-close look into the private lives of creatives.

Much of Brown’s photography uses close-up portraits of objects to explore places and personalities. In her series Plants, the photographer documented the office plants at companies like Vogue and Vivienne Westwood for a surprising peek into office culture. In another series, The Stuff Polly Brown Stole from Frieze New York, she stole small items like phone chargers from galleries at the New York art fair. Her Gucci work continues in the same vein, with still lifes documenting the musical instruments, souvenirs, and other special things.

Find more of Polly Brown’s photography on her Instagram and at her online portfolio, built using Format.

#RomanRhapsody 1. A scarab beetle solidified into plexiglas, chosen by singer-songwriter Francesco Bianconi @franciosa73 of @baustelle_official. “I like insects and the fact they are small monsters,” says Francesco. “I think it’s all tied to the concept of fear. It’s a way of both exorcising it, but also to remind myself we all need a little fear to be courageous.” 2. Guitar effects boxes, selected by musician and film editor Gabriele Lepera. “I thought these would represent me more than a guitar itself,” says Gabriele. “I even just like the objects, these little metal boxes. I’ve been playing punk music since I was 16 years old.” Special belongings of the characters from the upcoming #GucciCruise18 campaign. Still life: Polly Brown @pollyholiday. #AlessandroMichele -Gucci has made every effort to trace the relevant rightsholders of the objects represented in the photographs. In those instances where rightsholders could not be identified, Gucci kindly requests that any information concerning such rightsholders be forwarded so that appropriate contacts can be made.-

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A glimpse into the characters of the upcoming #GucciCruise18 campaign. Discover them through a personal object they brought to the shoot. Still life by Polly Brown @pollyholiday. #RomanRhapsody 1. An original movie script selected by actor @alessandro.borghi. “This was the film that changed my career, and my life,” says Alessandro. “It also ties me to #AlessandroMichele, because when we met for the first time, he had just seen the film and really liked it, I remember the hug we gave each other, it was as if we were introduced by the film.” 2. A call bell, chosen by Sonia Hang @soniahangzhou, owner of one of Rome’s best-known Chinese restaurants. “It’s something I can’t be without,” says Sonia. “At work, when I ring it, they all know Sonia is calling and to come see what I need. I don’t have to call. I don’t have to yell. At work, the bell is my best friend.” -Gucci has made every effort to trace the relevant rightsholders of the objects represented in the photographs. In those instances where rightsholders could not be identified, Gucci kindly requests that any information concerning such rightsholders be forwarded so that appropriate contacts can be made.-

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#RomanRhapsody 1. A vintage toy horse, chosen by interior designer @francescaromanafontana_. “It’s just a toy horse,” says Francesca. “Usually, it’s in my Tuscany house. Just in my bedroom, over in a corner. I don’t know why but I felt I had to choose something from my childhood.” 2. A Roman stone from the ancient city of Leptis Magna given as a gift to Marina Cicogna, award-winning film producer. “This stone for me is a symbol of paradise lost, of one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen them all.” Special belongings of the characters from the upcoming #GucciCruise18 campaign. Still life: Polly Brown @pollyholiday. #AlessandroMichele -Gucci has made every effort to trace the relevant rightsholders of the objects represented in the photographs. In those instances where rightsholders could not be identified, Gucci kindly requests that any information concerning such rightsholders be forwarded so that appropriate contacts can be made.-

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#RomanRhapsody 1. A Venetian fan, “This is a creation by Marta Marzotto,” belonging to Italian writer Barbara Alberti and given to her by the late countess and art patron. “I always play with it with my niece. Marta gave everything to everyone. You had to be careful not to praise anything, or she would follow you up the stairs to slip you one of her things. Her poetics were dispersion.” 2. A Russian doll, or ‘matryoshka’, chosen by Mosè Auer-Nozza, 3. “I call it a ‘papaish’. I call everything that has a surprise in that way,” says Mosè. “Sometimes, I open them up and put other things inside.” Special belongings of the characters from the upcoming #GucciCruise18 campaign. Still life: Polly Brown @pollyholiday. #AlessandroMichele Gucci has made every effort to trace the relevant rightsholders of the objects represented in the photographs. In those instances where rightsholders could not be identified, Gucci kindly requests that any information concerning such rightsholders be forwarded so that appropriate contacts can be made.

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#RomanRhapsody 1. An acoustic guitar made in 1974, selected by musician @lucio_corsi. “I’ve always sung and played,” says Lucio. “This one is old, and has experience. Since I’m young, I need an old guitar. To write a good love song, you need a guitar that has had a good relationship with some other instruments, like a saxophone.” 2. A hunting lure, selected by film director Matteo Zoppis. “It’s called a ‘lark mirror’ – it’s used to trap small birds attracted to shiny things,” says Matteo. “In several languages—including French and Italian—it’s also used to refer metaphorically to an apparently attractive offer that is just trying to attract gullible people. It was my grandfather’s, though he wasn’t actually a hunter.” Special belongings of the characters from the upcoming #GucciCruise18 campaign. Still life: Polly Brown @pollyholiday. #AlessandroMichele -Gucci has made every effort to trace the relevant rightsholders of the objects represented in the photographs. In those instances where rightsholders could not be identified, Gucci kindly requests that any information concerning such rightsholders be forwarded so that appropriate contacts can be made.-

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#RomanRhapsody 1. A kaleidoscope, brought in by actress and performer @silviacalderoni. “My father gave me this when I was very little,” says Silvia. “Looking into it and discovering a different universe created by light always fascinated me. I opened the first one I had and discovered how, with just a few small pieces of glass and fabric, magic was created.” 2. A ‘death mask’ called ‘Il Sonno’ meaning ‘The Sleep’ of Stefano Torossi, music composer, created by a sculptor and friend Dibrigida. “It was done as a joke of course, because I’m still alive!” says Stefano. “This woman said, ‘I want to take your features and make them eternal’ I figured, why not prepare my future while I can still decide?” Special belongings of the characters from the upcoming #GucciCruise18 campaign. Still life: Polly Brown @pollyholiday. #AlessandroMichele Gucci has made every effort to trace the relevant rightsholders of the objects represented in the photographs. In those instances where rightsholders could not be identified, Gucci kindly requests that any information concerning such rightsholders be forwarded so that appropriate contacts can be made.

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#RomanRhapsody 1. Twin brothers Fabrizio and Stefano Occhipinti, partners in a family-owned business chose objects linked to their great aunt. Fabrizio chose a magnifying glass. “It comes from my great aunt, we were very close,” he says. “Lenses focus light, and she was very interested in the spiritual world. I keep it close to my bed to remember my aunt, and the way she thought. It reminds me to look deeper into things… beneath the surface.” 2. “This is a diary entry by my great aunt,” says Stefano Occhipinti. “About me trying to write my name for the very first time, when I was four years old. She was worried I was taking a very artistic approach. So, she was asking Jesus to not let me grow up to be an artist!” Special belongings of the characters from the upcoming #GucciCruise18 campaign. Still life: Polly Brown @pollyholiday. #AlessandroMichele Gucci has made every effort to trace the relevant rightsholders of the objects represented in the photographs. In those instances where rightsholders could not be identified, Gucci kindly requests that any information concerning such rightsholders be forwarded so that appropriate contacts can be made.

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#RomanRhapsody 1. A basketball, selected by music lover and production company assistant @betani_mapunzo. “I played basketball in high school and loved the movement,” says Betani. “It’s the discipline, having respect for the body, and a strict routine. But also it’s about mental strength – caring about yourself, being precise and always on time.” 2. Nelson the dog, brought in by Caterina de Renzis Sonnino, owner and cultural conservator of @castellosonnino (the setting for the #GucciCruise16 campaign). “Nelson is a beautiful soul,” reflects Caterina. “He is an old dog, and a real character. He chose me as his.” Special belongings of the characters from the upcoming #GucciCruise18 campaign. Still life: Polly Brown @pollyholiday. #AlessandroMichele -Gucci has made every effort to trace the relevant rightsholders of the objects represented in the photographs. In those instances where rightsholders could not be identified, Gucci kindly requests that any information concerning such rightsholders be forwarded so that appropriate contacts can be made.-

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#RomanRhapsody 1. A message in a bottle, selected by actress Miriam Leone @mirimeo. “Today, everything is shared digitally – you share emotions, something you’ve seen,” says Miriam. “This is the same thing, but you put your message into the immense sea and it can end up anywhere.” 2. A rosary, Buddha and book of prayers, picked by actress and Gucci Rome store sales assistant @lucreziavalia. “I am Buddhist,” says Lucrezia. “I always take these with me, and I believe that the dreams that have come true are due to my prayers.” Special belongings of the characters from the upcoming #GucciCruise18 campaign. Still life: Polly Brown @pollyholiday. #AlessandroMichele -Gucci has made every effort to trace the relevant rightsholders of the objects represented in the photographs. In those instances where rightsholders could not be identified, Gucci kindly requests that any information concerning such rightsholders be forwarded so that appropriate contacts can be made.-

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#RomanRhapsody 1. A book of Greek poetry, chosen by film producer Ginevra Elkann. “It’s always a source of inspiration,” says Ginevra. "Somehow, I always find in it answers.” 2. A small box from a market, selected by Giulia Salvatore (@via_del_governo_vecchio_35), who owns a vintage store in Rome. “It’s made from recycled materials,” says Giulia. “Bits and pieces, old coins, computer parts, things like that! I think it’s very appropriate for me and what I do.” Special belongings of the characters from the upcoming #GucciCruise18 campaign. Still life: Polly Brown @pollyholiday. #AlessandroMichele Gucci has made every effort to trace the relevant rightsholders of the objects represented in the photographs. In those instances where rightsholders could not be identified, Gucci kindly requests that any information concerning such rightsholders be forwarded so that appropriate contacts can be made.

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Read Format Magazine’s feature on Polly Brown here.

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