Monday, September 30, 2013

Photographer Influence: Steven Meisel

Trailing Back Thick Dark Eyebrows 
Black Leather Combat Boots 

An American Photographer, born in 1954. He is famous for his work with supermodels, particularly his muse Linda Evangelista, during the late 1980’s and 1990’s. His controversial photographs have been clobbering every cover of Italian Vogue since 1988. He has also shot many covers and editorials for American and Paris Vogue, Mademoiselle, Self, and WWD. He has had campaign contracts with some of fashions elite designers such as Valentino, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, and Calvin Klein. Other work worth mentioning are his photographs for Madonna’s 1992 Sex Book, as well as his 1980’s and 1990’s group model work with the likes of Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Amber Valletta. His provocative work with the openly transgendered Teri Toye got him recognition as well. Models and designers from all over the globe have given him praises, Anna Sui raved, “Steven sets the stage for everybody else. Everybody waits for what he does.” While Linda Evangelista explained his work ethic, “His photos continue to shock and awe his eager audiences to this day.”

He has a knack for creating glamour through horrendous circumstances. In an interview from New York Magazine, 1992, his work was described as, “controlled, graphic, idealized, strangely beautiful, provocative and always artificial.” He was given a lot of heat from critics for his 2009 “Make Love not War” Spread, in Italian Vogue. Models were photographed along side soldiers in dire battle conditions, and made to look sexual. He’s had countless other controversies for his gruesome outlook on beauty, politics, social norms, and all things alike. He had quite a temper and a lot to say about the criticism he received for the shoot, “I hate war. I wasn’t trying to glamorize it. I hate violence. I hate violence against women. I am trying to make a statement against it and yet everybody then says that I am for it?” None of his photos are at a stand still, they are as lively and energetic as watching an actual film.

“Steven sets the stage for everybody else.
Everybody waits for what he does.”

He didn’t always work as a photographer; he actually started out his career drawing fashion illustrations for Women’s Wear Daily. He learned his craft at the Fashion School: Parsons, where he later worked as a teacher. He had always been fascinated by fashion and by models figures. As a teenager he lived across the street from Saint Laurent-muse Loulou de la Falaise, and cover model Marisa Berenson; and would often stalk them with his camera. Steven described himself at an early age, “I was a stupid, fashion asshole! I loved the magazines and I just connected immediately at a very young age, probably in the fourth grade. I loved it. Later, in the sixth or seventh grade I used to take a camera, an instamatic perhaps, and snap models on the street.”

Like many of the fashion models he has shot, he himself is quite a fashion icon. His 1990’s Johnny Depp-esc attire almost confuses him for a biker pirate. The man was usually seen wearing a bandanna wrapped around his head, dark sunglasses, and long brown hair that sat at his shoulders. He was typically seen wearing black leather combat boot, turtlenecks, and his famous black rabbit hat with fur earflaps. He sported thick eyebrows and lashes, and his skin is always glowing. Lately he has been showing off minimal facial hair and a shorter haircut. He generally wears some sort of black jacket with a pair of ill-fitted jeans. It has been noted that he has worn all black since he was in high school. The openly gay photographer is a closed off celebrity, he often shy’s from interviews and photographs of himself. He was quoted in a rare 2008 interview for Vogue Italia describing his loath for being in front of the camera, “I hate it. I despise someone filming me. A picture at least is frozen. But with film, you have to listen to your voice and you see your gestures. I am way too critical. I hate it.”

Steven resume is one for the books he has worked under Grace Miarabella, Anna Wintour-whom he never got along with, and Franca Souzzani, and worked with Grace Coddington and Fabien Barron. He is credited to have launched many fashion careers, some being hairstylists Oribe Canales, Garren, Orlando Pita and Guido Palau, and make-up artists François Nars, Laura Mercier, and Pat McGrath. Other names worth mentioning: designer Steven Sprouce, photographer Herb Ritts, fashion editor’s Karl Templer, Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele, Edward Enniful, and Tonne Goodman, as well as Hair stylist Guido Palau and set designer Mary Howard.

 (Photo taken from Italian Vogue)

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