Olivo Barbieri is an Italian artist and photographer of urban environments. He is recognized for his innovative technique creating miniature still photography from actual landscapes by simulating shallow depth of field via the use of tilt-shift lens photography. Barbieri’s technique simulates the shallow depth of field effect of macro photography by tilting the lens’s angle to the back plane of the camera, which creates a gradual blurring at the top and bottom edges, or left and right edges of the filmed image. The technique is called selected focus and the effect is that picture of an actual city looks like the picture of a model.
Barbieri began his career in photograpy studying at DAMS at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Bologna. After 1971, his interest in photography grew and, initially, he focused his research on artificial lighting. In 1978, he took part in several exhibitions in Italy and also abroad. In 1989 he started to travel regularly to the Far East, particularly to China.
In 1993, 1995 and 1997 Barbieri exhibited his work at the Venice Biennale, among other international exhibitions, and in galleries and museums throughout Europe, North America, and China. In 1996, the Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany, devoted a retrospective to his work, which has been collected by museums worldwide.