Pride interview: Felipe Tozzato - RSA

Pride interview: Felipe Tozzato


  • Picture of Deborah Ajia
    Deborah Ajia
    RSA Digital Marketing Officer
  • Arts and culture
  • Diversity and inclusion

The commercial photographer and RSA Fellow explains what Pride means to him, the importance of courage, making friends through rugby and why being gay is his superpower.

With over a decade under his belt, Felipe Tozzato is a versatile photographer with expertise in both studio and location shoots. Formerly a key member of John Lewis’s in-house team, Felipe’s meticulous attention to detail and lighting elevates every image. His signature style seamlessly blends technical mastery of composition with visual flair and sophistication. 

In recognition of Pride Month 2024, I caught up with Felipe to discuss Fellowship, creativity and his Pride insprations.

  • Tell us about yourself and how you found out about the RSA

I run a photography business based in London and I was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I’ve always followed the RSA with curious eyes from a distance, but it was only when my beloved former partner became an RSA Fellow and kept raving about the organisation that I decided to follow suit and get involved. Actually, I’m a fairly new Fellow.

  • What does Pride mean to you?

Being gay is a huge part of my life and self-identity. Coming out was not easy, but I’m proud to say that now most of my friends are part of the queer community and I proudly support a local charity – the West London Queer Project (WLQP). Through the WLQP’s amazing initiatives I got involved with touch rugby, where I made new friends. 

As a result, a year ago I became part of the West London Warriors touch rugby team, which welcomes everyone regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. I wouldn’t have met those wonderful people if it wasn’t for our shared queerness, so I can only be thankful for it. Being gay for me is a blessing, like a superpower. Pride is always an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on how far we’ve come as a community, but also to look ahead to what causes we must still fight for.

Being gay for me is a blessing, like a superpower.

  • Tell us more about your creative practice and who you work with

As a commercial photographer, I have the pleasure to work with inspiring creative professionals in the wider industry, but particularly in companies that support inclusion and diversity, such as John Lewis, Waitrose and Next. On the personal project side, I’ve been fortunate to shoot a rugby calendar for the Kings Cross Steelers (followed by an exhibition) before they came into the public eye through a documentary. Back in the day, I also used to photograph the super-talented drag queens of Soho’s legendary Madame Jojo’s before the iconic club sadly shut down.

  • Describe your practice in three words

Dedication. Inspiration. Communication.

  • What does courage mean to you?

Existing in this world is not enough – one must be courageous to live the most authentic life, and to fight for what is important. Standing up for your rights – and those of the less privileged – requires nerve and endurance. It's commonplace to applaud the brave people who have fought for great causes in the past – for example, the end of racial segregation, antisemitism or even same-sex marriage. I guess a more courageous thing these days would be to stand on the right side of the trans debate. 

I’ve had undergrads saying that they’ve chosen to pursue a specific career path on the back of subjects we’ve discussed in lessons – that fills my heart with pride.

  • How do you inspire the next generation of changemakers?

As a side project, I’ve been involved with education having taught photography at the University of Roehampton. It is rewarding to be able to give guidance and encourage the new wave of talent. I benefited from it when I was student, and now I feel it’s my turn to contribute a little. I’ve had undergrads saying that they’ve chosen to pursue a specific career path on the back of subjects we’ve discussed in lessons – that fills my heart with pride. What an amazing job to be able to influence young people and see how a small ripple can transform a person’s life journey.

  • Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by people who are not afraid to go against the grain and express their point of view, especially those who do so through an art form. I’m also inspired by – and very much thankful for – the brave LGBTQIA+ activists who have paved the way so my own generation could enjoy the freedom we have today. Peter Tatchell, Robert Mapplethorpe, Harvey Milk, George Michael, Madonna (fan alert!) are some of them.

  • How have you ‘travelled’ to this point? Were you always in your current industry?

Not at all. It took me a while to find my true passion. I first studied Industrial Engineering and eventually managed to finish a degree in International Commerce. But I guess like a lot of gay men out there, I was always creative and drawn to aesthetics, so I finally found in photography an outlet to express my vision. Nonetheless, as the master said, 99% is perspiration... so I had to go back to university and get myself a second degree in Digital Photography, followed by years of training and working for almost no money.

What does social change mean to you?

Social change means empowering the disenfranchised to show their abilities and talents. It involves giving an equal amount of opportunity to everyone regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, faith, disability and social background. True change takes time, sometimes a whole generation span... but we can only initiate the journey and keep it going by giving communities their fair share of visibility – that’s why Pride is still important.

You can find out more about Felipe from his website (, Instagram (@fetozzato) or through the West London Queer Project (

Are you a Fellow and consider yourself a member of the LGBTQ+ community? Our LGBT Fellowship Network is always looking for new collaborators to help drive cultural change around diverse and inclusive LGBT+ issues.

It does this through a series of lectures, creative interventions and networking events designed to reduce stigma and sterotyping of LGBT+ people.

Join the LGBT Network

Fellowship Networks

Enriching society through diversity, the RSA LGBT Network organises events that reduce the stigma and stereotyping of LGBT+ people.

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