Giovanni Gastel was born in Milan on December 27, 1955 to Giuseppe Gastel and Ida Visconti di Modrone, the youngest of seven children. His career as a photographer began in a basement in Milan towards the end of the 1970s, where Gastel, very young, spent his long years of apprenticeship taking pictures and learning the basic techniques of a profession that would later lead him to success. Between 1975 and 1976 he worked for the prestigious London auction house Christie's, putting into practice what he had learned.
The turning point of his career came in 1981 when he met Carla Ghiglieri, who became his agent and brought him closer to the world of fashion: after the publication of his first still life in the Italian magazine "Annabella", in 1982, he began collaborating with Vogue Italia and, then, thanks to the meeting with Flavio Lucchini -Director of Edimoda- and Gisella Borioli, with Mondo Uomo and Donna. Between the 80s and 90s, Gastel's career in the fashion world exploded in parallel with the boom of "Made in Italy". In those years, Gastel developed advertising campaigns for the most prestigious Italian fashion houses including Versace, Missoni, Tod's, Trussardi, Krizia, Ferragamo and many others. His success in his country also led him to Paris - where in the 90s he worked for brands such as Dior, Nina Ricci, Guerlain - as well as in the United Kingdom and Spain. Although his career began in the world of fashion, Gastel (photographer and, at the same time, also a poet) quickly understands that his impulse to express himself also requires projects with purely artistic purposes. The artistic consecration was not long in coming and, in 1997, the Milan Triennale dedicated a solo exhibition to him curated by the great art critic, Germano Celant. The exhibition launches Gastel at the top of the world photographic elite and his professional success is consolidated so much that his name appears in specialized magazines alongside that of sacred monsters of Italian photography such as Oliviero Toscani, Giampaolo Barbieri, Ferdinando Scianna and legends internationals such as Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino and Jürgen Teller.
Professional success opens the door to another side of Gastel's photographic repertoire that had remained unexplored until the end of the 2000s: the Portrait. In recent years, Gastel finds himself passionate about this branch of photography and, as he always did in his career, he immerses himself totally in it. His work culminates in an exhibition at the Maxxi Museum in Rome in the year 2020 with a selection of 200 portraits that portray the faces of people from the world of culture, design, art, fashion, music, entertainment and politics that Gastel himself met during his 40-year career. Some of the noteworthy portraits include Barack Obama, Ettore Sottsass, Roberto Bolle, and Marco Pannella.