Paolo Roversi is undeniably one of the most influential studio portrait photographers. We’ve featured him many times before but here is another small selection representing the essence of his work: portraits, nudes, self-portraits and fashion photography.
In his Paris studio, Roversi photographs subjects in 8×10 Polaroid format with his wooden 20x25cm Deardorff camera often allowing his images to fade before fixing them to their substrate. Roversi often uses long exposures at close range which gives his work an aesthetic resembling the earliest days of studio photography, but with a renewed urgency that wavers somewhere between history and apparition.
His photographs are stripped of the usual accoutrements of studio portraiture. The subjects seem to push back with a vulnerable intensity that reveals as much of the photographer as of the model. Sometimes, Roversi appears like an uncertain shadow, almost a medium, either by his subject’s side, or as the subject himself. One of his strongest influences in portraiture have been the Byzantine mosaics he knew during his childhood in Ravenna, along with certain Renaissance Madonnas.