Gian Paolo Barbieri elevated fashion photography

Gerard Ortiz

NUDITY ISso sturdy and pure”, states Monica Bellucci, an Italian actress and model. “The moment you photograph a naked overall body, for some reason, you often get the picture”. She is speaking in “The Male and the Beauty”, a forthcoming documentary about Gian Paolo Barbieri, a Milanese vogue photographer. Ms Bellucci has been some thing of a muse to him since she commenced modelling in 1989 and he photographed her nude many times.

“Working with Gian Paolo is special, unique”, she continues, emphasising the “environment of total trust” among them. “He appears at you in a way that [makes] you really feel at the identical time enhanced and respected.” In the movie, she lies in a pool of drinking water all through a shoot for a GQ calendar in 2001, putting on a gown that resembles cling film. Afterwards, Mr Barbieri plunges into an additional tank and fusses with devices to secure the fantastic shot.

It is this notice to detail that assisted Mr Barbieri protected his name as a person of the biggest living manner photographers. He is portion of a era of artists this sort of as Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and Irving Penn who blurred the line in between fashion and fantastic artwork. More than the class of his decades-extended career he has captured style legends and celebrities—Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Donatella Versace and Vivienne Westwood, to title a few—in striking black-and-white portraits (pictured, down below). A lot of of these illustrations or photos are on display at “Gian Paolo Barbieri: Unconventional”, a retrospective of his do the job at 29 Arts In Development Gallery in Milan. It also marks the 1st time that a number of of his color photos are currently being exhibited.

From the working day he picked up a camera, irreverence and inventiveness have outlined his method to photography. His earliest makes an attempt were taken on the terrace of his loved ones dwelling in Milan: a younger Mr Barbieri styled his friends as figures from novels, paintings and movies this kind of as “Sunset Boulevard” (1950), making use of materials pilfered from his father’s textile manufacturing unit. He is primarily self-taught, with the exception of a stint in 1958 taking pictures starlets on set at Cinecittà, the movie studio in Rome the place “Cleopatra” was produced.

Cinema was a supply of inspiration for the photographer, whose work attracts on Italian Neorealism and the spectacular lighting of movie noir. He specifically admired the Italian film-maker Federico Fellini the women of all ages in Mr Barbieri’s photographs give off the exact blend of sophistication and sexual intercourse enchantment as Anita Ekberg in “La Dolce Vita” (1960).

After a quick apprenticeship in Paris with Tom Kublin, a photographer at Harper’s Bazaar, Mr Barbieri returned to Milan in 1962 and opened a studio there. His function was released in Novità the following 12 months, which later on grew to become Vogue Italia. This was the get started of the marriage with Condé Nast that released his vocation in significant-close style and he started collaborating with brands these kinds of as Armani, Valentino and Versace.

In “The Guy and the Beauty”, couturiers such as Domenico Dolce, Stefano Gabbana and Giuseppe Zanotti highlight Mr Barbieri’s creativity. He sought to raise the bar in style advertising and marketing, experimenting with neon lights in his photographs. His graphic on the deal with of Vogue Italia lit up newsstands in 1976 (pictured, down below). In 1998, he hand-colored a black-and-white photograph that was motivated by the common Rita Hayworth film “Miss Sadie Thompson”, imitating a strategy well-liked with photographers in the 1950s.

1 of the most memorable pictures in the exhibition depicts Yasmeen Ghauri, a product, in the Seychelles in 1993 wearing outfits by Gianfranco Ferré, an additional designer. She is standing in entrance of a remarkable backdrop that Mr Barbieri fashioned from huge Ravenala madagascariensis leaves (pictured, prime). Currently these a scene would possibly be created on Photoshop. Trend images today is typically electronic quite a few luxurious brand names have shot international strategies on iPhones in the latest years. The deft, meticulous technique that Mr Barbieri pioneered feels all but neglected. Then once again, devoid of his eyesight, trend homes may well by no means have realised the electrical power of resourceful advertising and marketing.

The photographer has shied absent from the self-portrait in the course of his job. Now 88 many years outdated and struggling from Parkison’s sickness, the documentary is 1 of the handful of moments he has stood in front of the lens. He is a unwilling matter. “I do not adore staying the concentration of interest,” he states. All the exact same, the film and exhibition are important tributes to his towering influence on his industry.

“Gian Paolo Barbieri: Unconventional” is demonstrating at 29 Arts In Progress Gallery in Milan until eventually April 22nd. “The Guy and the Beauty” will be released on streaming platforms in Europe in spring.

Credits: All pictures © Gian Paolo Barbieri. Leading: Yasmeen Ghauri in Gianfranco Ferré, Seychelles ,1993 Courtesy of Fondazione Gian Paolo Barbieri/29 ARTS IN Development gallery

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