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Remembering the work of late fashion photographer Kate Barry

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Left: Kate Barry. Right: A cover shot she captured for the Telegraph's magazine cover in December 2005

Left: Kate Barry. Right: A cover shot she captured for the Telegraph’s magazine cover in December 2005 Photo: CAMERA PRESS/IP/Starface/ TELEGRAPH

“As a child, I was photographed a lot. That must have left an impression,” Kate Barry told French newspaper Liberation in 2012. Type her name into the search engine of almost any photo agency and you will be presented with black and white photos of a young Barry being hugged by her beautiful mother, the British actress and singer Jane Birkin, and her half-sister Charlotte Gainsbourg.

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And thus Barry, who passed away aged 46 on December 11 in Paris, carved out a successful career for herself behind the camera.

She began contributing to the Telegraph Magazine over 10 years ago, collaborating with the title’s then newly-appointed fashion director, Daniela Agnelli.

“I remember meeting Kate in Paris for the first time to discuss our first shoot. We had lunch at the Brasserie Castiglione and immediately there was a connection between us and we spent all afternoon talking about photography and life,” recalls Agnelli.

A spread taken from a shoot titled ‘Enduring Love’, October 2004

They collaborated on a sporty glamour-inspired shoot which marked Barry’s first cover for the title in June 2003.

Barry, the only child from Birkin’s first marriage to the late James Bond composer John Barry, “liked to use new faces, new models,” says Agnelli. As a former freelance stylist turned photographer, “she was very directive, she was interested in the clothes and liked to get involved in the casting.”

A spread taken from a shoot titled ‘Wish you were here’ captured in Ireland, March 2005

Agnelli believes that the fact that Barry “worked a lot on herself” made her good with others. “She was very open about talking about how she got out of her drug and alcohol addiction and how she helped other people setting up her own treatment centre outside Paris.”

“It was probably not easy to grow up as the daughter of Jane Birkin,” continues Agnelli, “but Kate was very good at working with women and female celebrities in particular. She made them feel comfortable, managing to get some emotion from them. All of this made her such a nice person to be around.”

Barry (left) with her famous mother, Jane Birkin

Agnelli harks back to a trip to Venice to shoot French actress Eva Green for the cover’s magazine in October 2006. “Eva is very particular about photographers she like to be photographed by, so I was very nervous at the beginning. But Kate managed to connect with her naturally and they got along very well and ended up being a very fun and successful shoot and we all had a great time.”

Covers taken by Barry of Eva Green in 2006 and right: a fashion-centric cover on Yves Saint Laurent’s new designer in 2005

Although Barry was born in Britain to English parents, she grew up in the French capital and was co-raised by the late Serge Gainsbourg. Barry and Agnelli’s fashion shoots took them to locations in Scotland, Ireland, Italy and France, but Barry loved to shoot in London so that she could see her English family and stay with her grandmother.

Eventually Barry retreated from fashion photography to immerse herself in portraiture. She had recently exhibited her work titled ‘Point of View. Portraits. Still Life.’ in a gallery in Paris.

It was confirmed on the morning of December 12 that she had been found dead outside her apartment after falling from her fourth floor home in the 16th arrondissement of the French capital. She is survived by her son, 26-year-old Roman de Kermadec.

Agnelli says that she will remember her friend and collaborator with one adjective: “amazing”.

She concludes: “She always had a vision, and an edgy style, which is so rare. She was a real person and a great friend. I will miss her in my life…”

A spread taken from a shoot titled ‘Woodland Spirit’ captured in Ireland, September 2008

All pictures are copyrighted by The Telegraph

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