Carlo Bagavnoli with camera (Photo by Carlo Bagavnoli/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

Carlo Bagavnoli with camera (Photo by Carlo Bagavnoli/The LIFE Picture Collection via Shutterstock)

Born in Piacenza, Italy, Carlo Bavagnoli (1932-present) was heading for a career in law when he met the storied LIFE photographer David Douglas Duncan at the Milan opera house, La Scala. Duncan explained his craft to Bavagnoli, who was fascinated by this “new means of expression, new means by which I might see the world.” Bavagnoli first trained his camera on the streets of Rome, and his neo-realistic post-war pictures were the frozen-frame equivalents of Rossellini’s films, and they often graced the pages of the Italian journal Epoca. Whenever Bavagnoli felt he had gotten something particularly right—his shots of the laughing Luisa Pierotti, for instance—he went to the editors in LIFE’s Rome bureau; he finally joined the magazine’s staff in 1964. Since then, he has also made television documentaries. Hearkening back to his fateful meeting at La Scala, he specializes in films on classical musicians.

—Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

LIFE cover published on March 29, 1968 featuring Actress Jane Fonda wearing a space-age costume for title role in Roger Vadim's film "Barbarella." (Photo by Carlo Bavagnoli/ The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

LIFE cover published on March 29, 1968 featuring Actress Jane Fonda wearing a space-age costume for title role in Roger Vadim’s film “Barbarella.” (Photo by Carlo Bavagnoli/ The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

A group of driver ants in Africa. (Photo by Carlo Bavagnoli/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

A group of driver ants in Africa. (Photo by Carlo Bavagnoli/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Fireworks during the Festival of the Fallas in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Carlo Bavagnoli/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Fireworks during the Festival of the Fallas in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Carlo Bavagnoli/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)


More Like This

State trooper holding burnt cap of a guard taken hostage during riot at Attica State prison. (Photo by John Shearer/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

John Shearer

Imperial Dam in California. (Photo by Horace Bristol/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Horace Bristol

MIT student using a MAC computer for project study of artificial intelligence. (Photo by Leonard Mccombe/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Leonard McCombe

Harvard students in lecture hall. (Photo by Arthur Griffin/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Arthur Griffin

Place de la Concorde. (Photo by Gordon Parks/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Gordon Parks

Painter Jackson Pollock smoking as he squats on floor, applying paint to canvas in Long Island studio. (Photo by Martha Holmes/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Martha Holmes