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Photograph

1988 (photographed), 2013 (printed)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Born in Ravenna, Italy, Paolo Roversi’s interest in photography began as a teenager. He set up his first darkroom while still a teenager and began developing and printing his own black and white images. He moved to Paris in 1973 and, except for a few years spent in London, he has lived and worked there ever since.

Roversi began his career in portraiture, but moved into fashion photography in Paris. His first major fashion story was published by Marie Claire. 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. He continues to work for the world’s premier publications including Lei, Elle, British and Italian Vogue.

Although he has spent most of his career in Paris, he identifies himself as thoroughly Italian. He credits the ethereal, fantastical quality of his imagss to his childhood surroundings and experiences in Ravenna. Roversi said recently in an interview ‘I went back to my mother’s house and I looked all around, and there were images of the Madonna all over the house. All the churches in Ravenna always have that central figure. I said to myself, ‘My pictures are coming from this iconography of my childhood’.

Roversi creates most of his photoraphs in his studio in central Paris, a sparsely furnished room with wooden floors and a large window. He has described it as ‘like a tiny theatre with an empty stage, a space to be filled ... a proscenium where everything is possible’. He experiments with extended exposure times and multiple exposures, to create fragile and dream-like images.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Brief description
Photograph by Paolo Roversi for Romeo Gilgio, 1988
Physical description
A colour photograph of a model in profile wearing a black dress with gauze sleeves. Her blonde hair is tied in a bun with decorative flowers holding it in place.
Gallery label
Label for the exhibition: "The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014" MADONNAS OF FASHION Paolo Roversi credits the ethereal quality of his photographs to his Italian childhood. ‘I went back to my mother’s house,’ he said in a recent interview, ‘I looked around, and there were images of the Madonna all over.’ Born in Ravenna in 1947, Roversi moved to Paris in his mid-twenties. Although he has spent most of his career in France, he identifies himself as thoroughly Italian and has worked with many Italian magazines and designers. FASHION IMAGE FOR VOGUE ITALIA Photograph by Paolo Roversi, 2011 Model, Stella Tennant GIVEN BY THE PHOTOGRAPHER V&A: E.614-2013 ADVERTISING IMAGE FOR ROMEO GIGLI Photograph by Paolo Roversi, 1988 Model, Kirsten Owen GIVEN BY THE PHOTOGRAPHER V&A: E.615-2013(05/04/2014-27/07/2014)
Credit line
Given by the photographer
Summary
Born in Ravenna, Italy, Paolo Roversi’s interest in photography began as a teenager. He set up his first darkroom while still a teenager and began developing and printing his own black and white images. He moved to Paris in 1973 and, except for a few years spent in London, he has lived and worked there ever since.



Roversi began his career in portraiture, but moved into fashion photography in Paris. His first major fashion story was published by Marie Claire. 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. He continues to work for the world’s premier publications including Lei, Elle, British and Italian Vogue.



Although he has spent most of his career in Paris, he identifies himself as thoroughly Italian. He credits the ethereal, fantastical quality of his imagss to his childhood surroundings and experiences in Ravenna. Roversi said recently in an interview ‘I went back to my mother’s house and I looked all around, and there were images of the Madonna all over the house. All the churches in Ravenna always have that central figure. I said to myself, ‘My pictures are coming from this iconography of my childhood’.



Roversi creates most of his photoraphs in his studio in central Paris, a sparsely furnished room with wooden floors and a large window. He has described it as ‘like a tiny theatre with an empty stage, a space to be filled ... a proscenium where everything is possible’. He experiments with extended exposure times and multiple exposures, to create fragile and dream-like images.

Collection
Accession number
E.615-2013

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Record createdFebruary 11, 2014
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