Paolo Costa was born in 1917 in Italy in the province of Ravenna (Emilia Romagna) and studied political science and philosophy at the universities of Bologna and Venice.
After ten years working as a journalist, including as a sports reporter, he began his career as a photographer in 1951. Some of his very first photographs, taken in Sardinia in an area dominated by bandits, were published by the American magazine LIFE. For two years, his work consisted mainly of photo documentaries about life in the Italian south, which were published almost everywhere in the world and were particularly well received in America.
From 1953 onwards, Costa, attracted by the world of film, spent a long time in Rome, where he later moved, turning his back on Milan. It was there that he met Sophia Loren, to whom Costa owed her first internationally recognised recordings. She then engaged him as her "special" during the shooting of her films and allowed him to accompany her on various trips, including her first visit to Germany in 1959. During his many years of collaboration with the actress, he produced a large number of private portraits that were published by all the world's major magazines and became famous.
Gradually, Costa became an insider tip among celebrities, and pretty much everyone who was anyone had their picture taken.
Only a few names can be mentioned here, such as Gina Lollobrigida, Anna Magnani, Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Simone Signoret, Yves Montand, Louis Armstrong, Mme. Rochas (Parfums Rochas), Countess Fanny Branca (Fernet Branca), King Baudouin of Belgium, Juan Carlos of Spain, Queen Elizabeth of England, the famous conductor Toscanini, Callas, the writer Georges Simenon, Antonella Agnelli-Piaggio (Fiat), the politician De Gasperi, the great doctor Maria Montessori, the directors Fellini and Visconti and other famous American actors such as Henry Fonda, Burt Lancaster, Sidney Poitier and Shirley Mc Laine.
Costa also made a name for himself as a talent scout. He discovered and promoted a number of actresses such as Dalia Lahvi, Sandra Milo, Ursula Andress, Elke Sommer, Britt Ekland, Stefania Sandrelli and Marcella Michelangeli, who later played a leading role in the award-winning film "Padre Padrone". The singer Amanda Lear also owes her first well-known portraits and covers to Paolo Costa.
Costa published around 550 covers worldwide, 170 of them in Germany alone, the country in which he himself became a star photographer, e.g. through the "Neue Revue" campaign "Germany's Beautiful Women".
He ended up doing advertising and promotion for major industries and multinationals, including ESSO, BMW, Olivetti, Fiat, DAF and Renault. In the fashion sector, he worked for Emilio Pucci, Piccini, Heinz Oestergard, Magli, Pollini and others. Costa moved to Munich in 1973.
In a report on RAI Uno's Tagesschau programme, Costa was presented as one of the best photographers in Europe.
Paolo Costa died in 1981 in Grünwald near Munich.
Paolo Costa's archive is managed by his daughter and the Galerie noir blanche exhibits his work.