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)


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