Gian Paolo Barbieri elevated fashion photography

NUDITY ISso robust and pure”, says Monica Bellucci, an Italian actress and design. “The second you photograph a naked human body, for some reason, you always get the picture”. She is talking in “The Guy and the Beauty”, a forthcoming documentary about Gian Paolo Barbieri, a Milanese style photographer. Ms Bellucci has been a thing of a muse to him because she started modelling in 1989 and he photographed her nude various situations.

“Working with Gian Paolo is distinctive, unique”, she carries on, emphasising the “environment of total trust” amongst them. “He appears to be at you in a way that [makes] you feel at the exact same time improved and highly regarded.” In the film, she lies in a pool of drinking water all through a shoot for a GQ calendar in 2001, donning a costume that resembles cling movie. Later, Mr Barbieri plunges into yet another tank and fusses with gear to safe the best shot.

It is this consideration to depth that helped Mr Barbieri secure his status as one of the greatest dwelling vogue photographers. He is aspect of a technology of artists these kinds of as Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and Irving Penn who blurred the line in between style and fine art. About the training course of his decades-extensive job he has captured vogue legends and celebrities—Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Donatella Versace and Vivienne Westwood, to identify a few—in putting black-and-white portraits (pictured, under). A lot of of these pictures are on screen at “Gian Paolo Barbieri: Unconventional”, a retrospective of his work at 29 Arts In Development Gallery in Milan. It also marks the first time that various of his colour images are remaining exhibited.

From the working day he picked up a camera, irreverence and inventiveness have described his tactic to pictures. His earliest attempts have been taken on the terrace of his family property in Milan: a young Mr Barbieri styled his friends as characters from novels, paintings and films this kind of as “Sunset Boulevard” (1950), working with materials pilfered from his father’s textile manufacturing unit. He is primarily self-taught, with the exception of a stint in 1958 capturing starlets on established at Cinecittà, the movie studio in Rome where by “Cleopatra” was created.

Cinema was a source of inspiration for the photographer, whose operate attracts on Italian Neorealism and the remarkable lights of movie noir. He specifically admired the Italian film-maker Federico Fellini the gals in Mr Barbieri’s photos give off the same mix of sophistication and intercourse attractiveness 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 get the job done was posted in Novità the next yr, which later on grew to become Vogue Italia. This was the start off of the romantic relationship with Condé Nast that released his profession in higher-finish fashion and he began collaborating with models these types of as Armani, Valentino and Versace.

In “The Gentleman and the Beauty”, couturiers this sort of as Domenico Dolce, Stefano Gabbana and Giuseppe Zanotti highlight Mr Barbieri’s creative imagination. He sought to elevate the bar in manner promoting, experimenting with neon lights in his shots. His impression on the cover of Vogue Italia lit up newsstands in 1976 (pictured, under). In 1998, he hand-colored a black-and-white image that was encouraged by the typical Rita Hayworth movie “Miss Sadie Thompson”, imitating a approach preferred with photographers in the 1950s.

A single of the most memorable images in the exhibition depicts Yasmeen Ghauri, a product, in the Seychelles in 1993 carrying dresses by Gianfranco Ferré, another designer. She is standing in entrance of a remarkable backdrop that Mr Barbieri fashioned from enormous Ravenala madagascariensis leaves (pictured, leading). Today this sort of a scene would probably be designed on Photoshop. Vogue photography today is mainly electronic a number of luxury manufacturers have shot international strategies on iPhones in recent many years. The deft, meticulous solution that Mr Barbieri pioneered feels all but overlooked. Then again, without his vision, style residences might under no circumstances have realised the power of imaginative promotion.

The photographer has shied absent from the self-portrait throughout his job. Now 88 decades previous and struggling from Parkison’s sickness, the documentary is a single of the few occasions he has stood in front of the lens. He is a unwilling topic. “I do not adore remaining the concentration of notice,” he states. All the exact same, the movie and exhibition are important tributes to his towering influence on his discipline.

“Gian Paolo Barbieri: Unconventional” is exhibiting at 29 Arts In Development Gallery in Milan right until April 22nd. “The Gentleman and the Beauty” will be unveiled on streaming platforms in Europe in spring.

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