Barbieri was there at the very beginning of fashion photography as we know it. He photographed the first ever cover of Vogue Italia in 1965 and was recognised in 1978 by German magazine Stern as one of the inventors of the discipline – an honour that he considers one of the main highlights of his career. And in a career that includes working with Hollywood stars from Audrey Hepburn to Sophia Loren and designers like Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent and Armani, choosing highlights is no mean feat.
Barbieri has also gone on to become a highly respected reportage photographer for his personal projects documenting indigenous peoples in exotic landscapes around the world. But even his travel photographs, which have been published as books and exhibited around the world, are intrinsically cinematic and feature situations created and directed by Barbieri, similar to the way that he directed the original supermodels Jerry Hall or Veruschka in his Milan studio.
It’s not easy to find the opportunity to express your creativity. That’s why I try to work constantly on my personal projects.
Tatiana Savialova per Valentino, 1996, by Gian Paolo Barbieri