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November 7, 2017

24 Stunning Black and White Portraits of Celebrities Taken by Kate Barry

Kate Barry (1967-2013) was a photographer born into the bohemian royal family of Parisian society. She is the first daughter of actress, singer and muse Jane Birkin and James Bond composer John Barry and was raised by singer Serge Gainsbourg. You may not necessarily recognize her name or be able to pick out her photographs as one would a Helmut Newton or Irving Penn, but Kate Barry is no less adored within the world of fashion, music and film.

Kate Barry was brought up in the mystique and fame of her much photographed family, the legendary beauties and stars of the bourgeois–bohème socialite crowd of Paris’s modern day aristocracy, but she instead chose to place herself behind her camera rather than before it. But this is not as much an action of withdrawal but of empowerment. Through her art she rejected her birth right as the object of public curiosity and took on an active role by taking photographs of the famous and existing within the periphery of these two worlds.

“I was photographed a lot as a kid. It must have made an impression on me. Letting someone take your picture involves a degree of trust and confidence that I don’t have. For a long time, my camera was a defence against the melancholy I felt.” Kate Barry

Barry was the darling of the fashion industry. She photographed for Vogue, Elle, Paris Match, Le Figaro Madame, the Sunday Times Magazine. She was raised by a pack of creatives from all domains and her career as an artist reflected her diverse upbringing as she photographed album covers for French singers like Vanessa Paradis and Carla Bruni. Her style is distinct. The women in her photographs are sexy and real. She captures their beauty without the artifice. She searches for those in between and unsuspecting moments that exist beyond the robotic smile of a star.

Jane Birkin once said that if she were to attribute one adjective to each of her daughters, it would be “curiosité” for Lou, “mystère” for Charlotte and “empathie” for Kate. This empathy burns through her photographs. Her portraits, often in black and white, are deeply intimate and revealing, while still retaining the childlike playfulness of the young Kate stealing shots with Serge’s Polaroid. She possessed the uncanny talent to break through the barrier between lens and subject to reveal something private and concealed.



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