Fashion photography is one of the most genuine and pure ways of portraying what this industry means to someone who loves it and deeply cares about it, to the point of wanting to preserve it and immortalise it forever. With this discipline, the points of view are as unique and numberless as humans are, but despite the wide spectrum of artists, there are few who have managed to remain in the minds of the audience for enough time to become legends in their field. Paolo Roversi fits comfortably in this category, and in order to pay tribute and compile some of his greatest pieces, the prestigious Palais Galliera in Paris has opened an exhibition featuring pieces taken throughout his fifty-year career. Sensitivity and taste for everyone to see.
Most of the greatest photographers have the characteristic of having such a clear and evident style and approach to them that one can easily tell when something belongs to them. The Italian Paolo Roversi has crafted the aesthetics he’s been recognised for since early in his life. With his first works featured in the most prestigious fashion magazines, it was clear there was something special in the way he perceived and captured not only fashion subjects, garments, and textures but also the humans that wear the pieces, allowing them to become as main characters as what they are wearing, with sometimes only the bare body being the best look one could wear.
Torch-lit, soft, sepia-toned black and white, with a density and depth of colour that appear equally raw and polished, Paolo traces the origins of his particular style to his room back in his hometown of Ravenna, where he recalls “(...) the light coming through the shutters formed ghostly, mysterious figures on the ceiling and the walls,” a vision he then began to replicate in his studio. More about his story and personal testimonies by Roversi himself can be found throughout the exhibition, accompanying the pieces and giving them new depth.
The exposition, opened from March 16 to July 14, 2024, takes the visitors on a journey that is more than chronological, but poetical, where the shadows and darkness transform into light and color. Across 140 pieces of work, including previously unseen material and ranging from his famous Polaroid prints to archival magazines or catalogues, we can see the world of Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, and more, through the eyes of a man who has gifted the world a legacy of inmense beauty.