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Francis Giacobetti’s nudes, fashion, beauty, and one priority: light


Born in 1939 in Marseille, Francis Giacobetti began his career as a reporter. Most notably, he collaborated with Paris Match and the American magazine Life. In 1963, inspired by Playboy, he created Lui with editor Daniel Filipacchi. The title was quickly met with great success and became a social phenomenon. The provocative covers revealed international stars and models in a sensual exercise mixing lascivious positions and sexy lingerie. We see front pages of Jane Birkin, Raquel Welsh, and Jane Fonda. Each time, the image was made by Francis Giacobetti. Sometimes, he even created the whole magazine, using different pseudonyms. As the issues accumulated, he became the pope of the photography of charm, confessing: “The nude is certainly the most difficult artistic discipline. I did not choose it, I had to have the instinct.” Moreover, he would become one of the rare photographers, with Richard Avedon and Peter Lindbergh, to twice shoot the famous Pirelli Calendar (1970 and 1971), taking his models to exotic latitudes to sublimate the body. The name Francis Giacobetti is associated with two other French artists from the same generation who revolutionized their art: Jeanloup Sieff and Guy Bourdin.

Later, after being for a long time the photographer who exhibited in its absolute splendor the natural body of woman, pure beauty not retouched, he has the obscure object of desire disappear behind geometric light lines, thus breaking body curves, in which we will search in vain, a breast, a nape, a curve. He also introduces in his fashion photographs the look of his models, subjugated by light, and parts of their bodies: hands, fingers, mouths, ears. In a special issue dedicated to the photographer in 1998, the team of the German magazine Stern writes: “Whatever name you mention, Francis Giacobetti has a story to tell. When he talks to you about his life you feel that he guides you through an exhibition during which he points the finger at such or such a picture that is not really hung.”

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