Dark Memories: Gian Paolo Barbieri

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In a creative culture intoxicated by visions of reality, inspired by the documentarian capturing the grit and grime of IRL experiences, Italian fashion photographer Gian Paolo Barbieri holds on to a rare classical approach to art.

Thoroughly considered and often painstakingly contrived, his approach to  nude subjects mirrors that of classical sculpture more than contemporary photography; though the content of this subject matter presents objects and activities more graphic and real than any documentary approach can hope to achieve, it is executed is a manner that romanticizes. This quest to achieve a certain kind of purity, fearing any presentation of the subjects he captures as vulgar, instead attempting to elevate them above the pit of vulgarity and taboo that often surrounds them, places them in a dichotomy between reality and fantasy. Though this almost overly-romantic approach threatens to lose the very thing that might connect the viewer to these scenes, there is undeniably something mesmerizing about this detachment.

Dark Memories: Gian Paolo Barbieri, a book celebrating the photographer’s latest works, is out on Rizzoli in April.

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