Paolo Roversi’s signature poetic images have graced the pages of leading fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, W Magazine and Vanity Fair with campaigns for the most important fashion houses, including Yohji Yamamoto, Azzedine Alaïa, Comme des Garçons, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Hermès, Giorgio Armani and Valentino. His trademark aesthetic is distinctly recognizable and characterized by a nuanced feeling for light, shadow, coloration and texture.
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Born in Ravenna in 1947, Roversi’s interest in photography was kindled as a teenager during a family vacation in Spain in 1964. Back 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. The encounter with a local professional photographer Nevio Natali was very important: in Nevio’s studio Paolo spent many many hours realising an important apprenticeship as well as a strong durable friendship. Paolo later moved to Paris in order to pursue a career working as a reporter for the Huppert Agency. It wasn’t long before Paolo grew an interest in the realm of fashion and began channelling his vision into this new world. Eventually, the British photographer Lawrence Sackmann took Paolo on as his assistant in 1974.
“Sackmann was very difficult. Most assistants only lasted a week before running away. But he taught me everything I needed to know in order to become a professional photographer. Sackmann taught me creativity. He was always trying new things even if he did always use the same camera and flash set-up. He was almost military-like in his approach to preparation for a shoot. But he always used to say ‘your tripod and your camera must be well-fixed but your eyes and mind should be free’”.
Paolo endured Sackmann for nine months before starting on his own with small jobs here and there for magazines like Elle and Depeche Mode until Marie Claire published his first major fashion story. A Christian Dior beauty campaign brought him wider recognition in 1980, the year he started using the 8 x 10” Polaroid format that would become his trademark. Through his curiosity, his vision and his passion for photography, Paolo has become a global inspiration for photographers and the world of fashion.
EDITORIAL Arena, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, I-D, Interview, Marie Claire, The New York Times Magazine, Italian and British Vogue, and W
ADVERTISING Alaïa, Cerruti, Comme des Garçons, Christian Dior, Hermès, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Yohji Yamamoto, and Yves Saint-Laurent