PHOTOPHOBIA: The Work of Paolo Roversi

Lighting is, above all, not a question of technique, but of the feeling. Because, even if you think it is a simple light, it depends on where you put the camera, where you put the subject, what you put behind the subject or beside the subject, the angle of the sun, if there is a cloud in front of the sun. Anybody can use a strobe, anybody can use any light – but to capture the sentiment of the light – that is not so easy. Everyone can learn the technique of lighting. What is very difficult, and what you can’t teach is a feeling for the light, a sentiment of the light.” -Paolo Roversi


Born in Ravenna, Italy in 1947, Paolo Roversi’s interest in photography was kindled as a teenager during a family vacation in Spain in 1964. Upon his return home, he set up a darkroom in a convenient cellar with another keen amateur, the local postman Battista Minguzzi, and began developing and printing his own black & white work.

In 1971, Mr. Roversi met by chance the legendary Art Director of Elle Magazine, Peter Knapp, in the Italian city of Ravenna. At Knapp’s invitation to work, Paolo visited Paris in November 1973 and has established permanent residency ever since.

Paolo Roversi’s trademark 8 x 10” Polaroid format and very long exposures have a romantic and ethereal quality to presenting the art of fashion. His favorite lighting is window light or a Mag Flashlight to capture his models.

Paolo has always preferred working in his studio as a controlled approach to expressing this type of  personal light sentiment.

During Roversi’s initial years in Paris, his studio was housed in a room from his living quarters on the left bank.  In 1981, Mr. Paolo Roversi gained his official professional photography studio located at 9 rue Paul Fort, where his remarkable visual imagery continues to contribute to the notable archives of fashion memoirs.

All images courtesy of Paolo Roversi

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