Son of Franco and Giuliana Ferri, Fabrizio Ferri was born and raised in Rome in a “household of intellectuals and professional communists” where Palmiro Togliatti and Giorgio Napolitano were frequent visitors and friends.
He began his career in the 1970s photographing Italy’s political atmosphere. He soon turned his attention to the fashion world, temporarily moving to London, then to New York and later to Milan.
In just a few years, he became one of the most sought-after names in the industry. He shot for the world’s top fashion magazines including Vogue, Interview, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Elle, and Vanity Fair.
Acclaimed for his pure and sophisticated style, Ferri’s work outlined a new concept of fashion photography. Eventually called “Fashion Portrait, ” this style respected and exalted a model’s identity, capturing it without the filter of fashion trends. This authenticity resulted in human and emotional pictures of surprising originality and immediacy.
Since the Seventies, Ferri has photographed many cultural icons of our times including Isabella Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini, Sophia Loren, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Pier Paolo Piccioli, Luciano Pavarotti, Renzo Piano, Monica Bellucci, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Julia Roberts, Naomi Watts, Charlize Theron, Beyoncé, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange, Willem Defoe, Oliver Stone, Adrian Brody, Sting, Madonna, and Marina Abramovic.
Over the years, he has shot iconic campaigns for top international brands and fashion houses: Bulgari, Fiuggi, Gucci, Valentino, Ferragamo, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari, Mc Donald’s, and L’Oreal.
His publications include Open Eyed (1989), Acqua (1993) and Aria (1996) which is the world’s first photography book to be fully captured with a digital camera, a technology Ferri pioneered.
Ferri’s short films include Acqua (1993), Aria (1996), Prelude (1997), Carmen (1998), Passage (2013), and Rethink Energy (2014). He also composed the music score of the last two.
Two works stemmed from his exploration on rationalist architecture: Form I – II (Design and Nudes of Architecture) consisting in an exhibition and two books presented at the Rome Music Auditorium in 2004; and the book Fontane Romane (2015).
In 2015, four new volumes were published: American Ballet Theater – 75th Anniversary;
One of 100, A Journey into the Excellence of Italian Design; Voyage into Beauty, photographed in Pompeii’s archaeological site; Stop / Think / Give featuring portraits of 278 international celebrities who joined Ferri’s namesake charitable campaign in partnership with Bulgari and Save the Children. With this project, Ferri helped raise over 100 million dollars in just six years to foster education in the poorest areas of the planet.
Ferri embodies the prototype of the contemporary Renaissance man. As a young and far-sighted entrepreneur, he founded Industria, first in Milan in 1983, and later in New York in 1991. Both were the first multi-purpose photographic complexes of their kind, with photo studios and post production facilities under one roof.
Originally located in the area of Porta Genova in Milan and in the Meat Packing District in New York, Industria heralded the urban renewal of two areas that had long been neglected. In 1992 mayor Rudolph Giuliani awarded Ferri for his contribution to the revitalization of the Meat Packing District on behalf of the City of New York.
Industria is also the name of Ferri’s fashion label, produced and distributed until 1998, and the name of an airline, Air Industria, active in Italy in 2001. In 1997, in Milan he founded “L’Università dell’Immagine” (University for the Image), the first school with a curriculum focused on aesthetics and the creative process.
Ferri ideated, among others, the brand Eataly, bought by Oscar Farinetti in 2002. In 2017, he unveiled Industria’s new headquarters in Williamsburg, Brooklyn contributing to the growth of this neighborhood as New York’s new creative epicenter.
A refined composer, he created several musical pieces. Anima, a contemporary opera in a concert form, premiered in 2010 at the San Carlo Theater in Naples with a photographic set design by Ferri himself. The Piano upstairs, a dance and theater show for which he wrote part of the music and of the script, was first showcased at Festival dei Due Mondi in 2013. He also authored the score of Passage, a short movie presented in 2013 in Venice, and performed by Roberto Bolle and Polina Semionova during the Gala Bolle&Friends in 2014, 2015 and 2018.
As a writer, he wrote the short novel Discrete Adventures of Vito Zuccheretti, An Ordinary Man, published in 1992.
Fabrizio Ferri currently lives in New York.