The man responsible for Rihanna’s ANTI era shots is Italian fashion photographer Paolo Roversi. That shoot would spawn the covers for “Bitch Better Have My Money,” “Kiss It Better,” “Needed Me,” and of course the album cover art. But what we saw isn’t all he shot.
For a solo exhibition called “Storie” at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, an entire room was dedicated to never-seen-before shots of Rih.
“He taught me everything I needed to know in order to become a professional photographer,” Roversi told i-D of British photographer Laurence Sackman for who he worked for as an assistant in the mid 1970s. “Sackman taught me creativity. He was always trying new things even if he did always use the same camera and flash set-up. He was almost military-like in his approach to preparation for a shoot. But he always used to say, ‘Your tripod and your camera must be well-fixed but your eyes and mind should be free.’”
Roversi would rise to fame in the 90s for shoots of superstars like Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss. Rihanna was a natural choice for him. “She’s fantastic, a true artist,” he said. “We worked in my studio for two days. Her presence is extraordinary: how she moves, the confidence, the control over her body, the energy, the sensuality. She’s completely aware of the power of her beauty. She’s an artist, in the very same way that a good model is also an artist, not only a pretty face.”
See some of the outtakes of Rihanna below.