Rubartelli, born 1937 in Florence, is a self-taught fashion photographer, publicist and filmmaker.
His first wife, Francoise Schluter, was a well known model in Rome. One day Franco took her to the beach with a suitcase full of clothes and he made her move and play in front of his camera. No elaborate make-up nor any hairstylist were part of team. Full of confidence he decided to sent his photographs to American Vogue, which at the time was run by the empress of fashion, known as Diana Vreeland, at the time editor-in-chief. A week later he received a telegram from Vogue signed by Diana Vreeland herself, where she wrote: "beautiful photos, beautiful model..." and invited them both to New York to work for Vogue.
Soon, the photographer and his model wife were working with Consuelo Crespi, the magazine’s editor in Rome; their first story appeared in the August 1964 issue. As Rubartelli and Schluter were racking up credits and becoming known as a couple, though, their love story was unraveling. “We spent too much time together as photographer and model, and not enough as man and woman“, Rubartelli tells. Their final rupture happened some time in 1965.
Having received a call about an advertising job, Rubartelli went to meet a client at the Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel in Rome. As he waited “a tall, skinny woman in a black cloak and long knee-high boots walked past and caught his attention. Rubartelli asked the concierge who she was and was told she was a German model, at which point he called his mother and asked her to pose as his secretary and invite this alluring Vera von Lehndorff-Steinort, aka Veruschka, to stop by his studio with her portfolio. At this point Rubartelli was already known through his work for Vogue. So Veruschka stopped by in the early afternoon and they talked until the evening. He invited her to dinner at a restaurant. They spoke about Françoise, and she told him about her family. They shared their problems and stayed talking like two parrots until late. They spent the rest of that night together and remained lovers for nearly nine years.
Rubartelli and Veruschka came up with the idea of body painting and Franco´s photographs of Veruschka's nude body camouflaged with what appeared to be animal skin appeared in Vogue for the first time in 1968.
In 1968 Rubartelli moved to Venezuela where he did more than a thousand commercials. Among others his films include Veruschka: The Poetry of a Woman (Italy, Titanus); Simplicio (Venezuela) filmed on Margarita Island and Yakoo (Venezuela), filmed exclusively in the Amazonian jungle.
In the sixties Rubartelli worked for Vogue (US, French, Italian, Australian, British), Elle Magazine, Time Life Magazine, Playboy, Marie Claire, Queen, Stern, Jardins de Modeand the Italian publication Linea.
His photographs are part of international exhibitions all over the world.