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VISUAL ESSAY with Debora Barnaba

All images: © Courtesy of Debora Barnaba

Curated by Varia Serova


Debora Barnaba (born in Milan in 1985) is a Milan-based artist and photographer. After studying drawing and painting, she discovered the phenomenological potential of photography, which became her main direction of work in 2006. From the beginning, her images embraced the power of female identity and body, challenging the expected way women would pose for photographs, and following the notion to show women bodies as strong, powerful and as a celebration. Barnaba’s performance self-portraits exhibited in the visual essay maintain a strong focus on the concept of body image, with the nude female body sequentially contorted by photographic lens. Both series ('Sphinx' , 2017, and 'Bridge', 2018) illustrate the powerful message about the objectification of the female body while at the same time unraveling the complexity of human nature.

Since 2006, Barnaba has worked with renowned practitioners including Giovanni Gastel and Oliviero Toscani, participated in a number of group and solo exhibitions and won numerous awards, including the Paris Photo prize (2021), the ContemporaneaMENTI photography prize, Fondazione Arsenale Iseo prize (2019), the critique prize at the Genova Biennale (2017), and others.


Untitled, 2016 © Courtesy of Debora Barnaba


Bridge, 2018 © Courtesy of Debora Barnaba


Sphinx, 2017, 100 x 150 cm © Courtesy of Debora Barnaba


Sphinx, 2017, 100 x 150 cm © Courtesy of Debora Barnaba


Bridge, 2018, 70 x 100 cm © Courtesy of Debora Barnaba


Sphinx, 2017, 100 x 150 cm © Courtesy of Debora Barnaba