Paul Barbera is a lifestyle and interior photographer with a reportage style spanning cultural anthropology to luxury living, who we’ve been following since the very beginning of Another Something & Co, when we stumbled upon his tremendous Where They Create project. Paul is one of those extraordinary photographers striving to capture the complex emotional honesty of his subjects by reverting to a minimalist approach. He shoots in natural light and avoids overly complicated technical arrangements which permit authenticity and a voyeuristic thrill to come to the fore. Born in Melbourne, Australia and currently residing in New York City (when not on the road or in the air), Barbera has a Bachelors of Fine Arts and now a days is commissioned throughout Asia, Europe and Australia for a broad scala of publications ranging from fashion to documentary. Next to his ongoing Where They Create series, Paul also started the Love-Lost project in which he captures beautiful woman from around the globe. As we’ve been inspired by Paul for all these years, we now ask him what has been inspirational in his life.
Please introduce yourself.
Paul Barbera, raised in Melbourne, based in New York City. I’m a photographer running a bunch of online projects including Where They Create, Love-Lost and for fun, Where They Purr.
Who is the most inspiring person in history and why?
I am fascinated by people who have changed the course of history, but someone who has inspired me to support his legacy is Professor Fred Hollows because he was so selfless and established a foundation where the poorest people in the world who have curable blindness are given the chance to see. Vision is intrinsic to my work as a photographer.
Who is the most inspiring person in your life and why?
My late Father, who took a chance and migrated to Australia when he was 24. I’m lucky to have lived in so many different countries, but life as a migrant was very different back in the 1960s. And it’s because of his sacrifices that my brother and I can pursue our dreams.
Who for you is the most inspiring artist?
I don’t really follow an artist, instead I will go to an exhibit at a gallery and just get inspired by a show – Jeff Koons at the Whitney was amazing, so was Paul McCarthy at The Armory. The other day I saw the work of Takeshi Murata for the first time at Salon 94. It’s all about discovering something new and unexpected.
And what is the most inspiring music?
Phillip Glass and Brian Eno.
The thing you never go without?
I work from home so it’s important for me to take time out everyday and go to a local cafe to think and organize my diary. I also hate to say my iPhone/iPad.
Your favorite city?
New York and Tokyo.
Your favorite hideout?
My mum’s place back in Melbourne – she’s a farmer’s market junkie and cooks the best organic food – and the time I have to myself on an airplane.
The website you often check?
Kurz Wei Lai and my crazy Tumblr feed that never ends. It sucks me in every time.
The books on your coffee table?
Philip-Lorca DiCorcia and a bunch of books from the New York Art Book Fair which are inspiration for my new portfolio. I also just bought an apartment in NYC and renovating it, so I have a Carl Hansen & Son catalog.
The books on your bedside table?
I do audio books so I’m listening to ‘Shinto: the way home’ at the moment. It’s pretty tough going. I also fall back on ‘Snow Crash’ by Neal Stephenson and ‘Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality’.
What is your dream?
At the moment, taking time out for my projects, traveling to Mexico and doing more in Japan. I would also like to publish more books and exhibit.
What would you do if you could start all over again?
Maybe be a property developer…real estate is like a hobby…or something in the sciences. I love technology. But I think I would have got bored and taken up photography anyway. I’m not sure I would do it any different. What you love is not necessarily what you’re good at. This took me years to work out as a photographer. I wanted to shoot fashion but it blinded me from what I was naturally good at which is interiors, space and people.
Portrayed with the interview is Paul’s Where They Create visit to the workshop of his brother, founder of the extraordinary studio Barbera Design which we wrote about earlier this month, and some photographs of the beautiful girls named Marlies and Marie from the Love-Lost Project.
Follow all of Paul’s incredible projects here.