On Edward Steichen and fashion photography

According to Smithsonian Magazine Edward Steichen changed fashion photography forever.

Edward Steichen captured almost everything from landscapes, architecture, theater and dance, war photography and last but not least fashion. Born in 1879 in Luxembourg, he moved in 1881 to the United States and at the early age of 16 he started to photograph. He returned in 1900 to Europe to learn about painting but he specialized in fine arts photography.

Mary Heberden
Though Steichen didn't invent fashion photography, he created the template for the modern fashion photographer. 
The book, Edward Steichen in High Fashion: The Condé Nast Years 1923-1937 is a proof of this and it is an inspiration for fashion photographers.

Mary Taylor

Steichen set an enduring standard, his precise eye for lighting and design makes his pictures from the '20s and '30s a must in the education of a fashion photographer.

It began in 1907 in Paris when he made a photograph of two ladies in dazzling white dresses getting into a carriage at the Longchamp racetrack, a signal that he had an instinct for couture.
Four years later, he was assigned by the French magazine Art et Décoration to produce pictures of dresses by the Parisian designer Paul Poiret.


But it took another 15 years to return to fashion photography. Back in New York, he was invited to a lunch that provided a remedy to his difficulties he had in Paris. The invitation came from Frank Crowninshield, the editor of Vanity Fair, and Condé Nast, the publisher of both that magazine and Vogue, whose wife and daughter Steichen had photographed while in Paris. It was Nast who offered him the job of chief photographer for Vanity Fair, which meant, essentially, house portraitist. But regular fashion work for Vogue was also part of the deal, and Steichen gladly accepted it.

Gloria Swanson
His portraits for Vanity Fair brought him new fame, at least in part because of the status of such celebrity subjects as Gloria Swanson (whom he draped with an evocative veil of black lace) and a formidably handsome Gary Cooper. But on his Vogue assignments Steichen produced pictures as meticulously conceived as any painting by Thomas Gainsborough or John Sargent, even though he needed to fill page after page, month after month.
Marlene Dietrich

Greta Garbo

In 1937 he stopped with fashion photography, although he never stopped taking photos he never returned to fashion.

Margaret Horan (via Pinterest)

Source: Owen Edwards for Smithsonian Magazine
On Edward Steichen and fashion photography On Edward Steichen and fashion photography Reviewed by Patricia Munster on 4:12:00 AM Rating: 5

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