Kate Barry (1967-2013) was a photographer born into a family surrounded by mystique and fame. They belonged to the bourgeois–bohème socialite crowd of Paris’s modern day aristocracy, but she – unlike those around her – placed herself behind the camera rather than in front of it.
Kate Barry is the first daughter of actress, singer and muse Jane Birkin and James Bond composer John Barry and was raised by singer Serge Gainsbourg. You may not necessarily recognize her name or be able to pick out her photographs, but Kate Barry is no less adored within the world of fashion, music and film.
Born in London in 1967 to composer John Barry and iconic singer and actress Jane Birkin, Kate struggled with addiction in adolescence before making her way to Paris’s Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture for fashion design. Thereafter, she started a prêt-à-porter company, and founded a charity and free facility for treating addiction in France in 1994. She switched her métier from fashion to photography in 1996, bridging the two sectors by taking fashion photographs.
She shot faces of stardom like Monica Bellucci, Laetitia Casta, Tilda Swinton and Helena Bonham Carter; created ad campaigns for Pierre Cardin and Dior perfumes, and contributed to magazines like Elle, Paris Match, and Vogue.
“I was photographed a lot as a kid. It must have made an impression on me. Letting someone take your picture involves a degree of trust and confidence that I don’t have. For a long time, my camera was a defence against the melancholy I felt.”
Depression and addiction is no stranger to the world of creativity, and Kate Barry belongs to the tragically long list of talented young artists who left this world too soon. In this case, the end of Kate’s life was executed by her own hand when she apparently jumped from the balcony of her Parisian apartment in 2013.