Gian Paolo Barbieri

A self-taught photographer, his first professional job was as an apprentice to Harper’s Bazaar photographer Tom Kublin.

Gian Paolo Barbieri (or Giampaolo Barbieri) is an Italian fashion photographer, he was born in born 1938.

Barbieri was born in the Via Mazzini in Milan, where his father operated a department shop. In the mid-1950s, he took part in amateur dramatics, founding “The Trio” with friends. At an early age, he was fascinated by cinema, and he photographed models in Rome in the 1960s, part of the social scene depicted in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita in 1960.

Gian Paolo Barbieri by Hermes Mereghetti
Gian Paolo Barbieri by Hermes Mereghetti

A self-taught photographer, his first professional job was as an apprentice to Harper’s Bazaar photographer Tom Kublin, who died twenty days after Kublin was hired. Vogue Italia, the Italian fashion magazine founded in 1965, featured Barbieri’s photos in 1963. Barbieri has also shot for Vogue in the U.S. and in France.

Jerry Hall, Versace, 1975, by Gian Paolo Barbieri
Jerry Hall, Versace, 1975, by Gian Paolo Barbieri

Barbieri had to choose the finest location for his shots and construct the haircuts, make-up, and jewellery. A good example of this is earrings constructed from table tennis balls painted in mother-of-pearl colours.

A few years later, Barbieri began working closely with ready-to-wear fashion designers. Seine collaborative partnership with Walter Albini led to an appreciation of stylists’ roles, and Barbieri’s collaboration with the fashion designer Valentino was responsible for many of the breakthroughs in modern fashion ad campaigns. Veruschka, Mirella Petteni, Jerry Hall and Audrey Hepburn are some of the models Barbieri has photographed. For Armani, Versace, and Ferré as well as Dolce & Gabbana, Pomellato, and Giuseppe Zanotti, Barbieri has worked as a fashion designer and stylist.

Barbieri became a travel photographerl in the 1990s. Barbieri’s work was exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Kunstforum in Vienna, curated by fashion photographer David Bailey.

Audrey Hepburn in Valentino, Vogue Italia, Rome, 1969, by Gian Paolo Barbieri
Audrey Hepburn in Valentino, Vogue Italia, Rome, 1969, by Gian Paolo Barbieri

Unlike most digital photographers, Barbieri does not alter his shots after taking them. A Reflex Voigtländer 35mm was one of his first cameras. Italian magazine Biancamano gave him the Biancamano Prize as Best Photographer for 1968. The German fashion magazine “Stern” listed him as one of its 14 best worldwide fashion photographers for 1978.

This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images.