Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Photographer Profile ~ Steven Meisel

Steven Meisel (born 1954) is an American photographer, who obtained popular acclaim with his work in US and Italian Vogue (he’s shot every single cover of Italian Vogue since 1998) and his photographs of friend Madonna in her 1992 book Sex. He is now considered one of the most successful fashion photographers in the industry, shooting regularly for both US and Italian Vogue, and lately W Magazine.

His fascination for beauty and models started at a young age. At that time Meisel would not play with toys, but would instead draw women all the time. He used to turn to magazines like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar as sources of inspiration for his drawings.

He became obsessed with models such as Twiggy, Veruschka, and Jean Shrimpton. At just 12 years old he asked some girlfriends to call model agencies and, by pretending to be secretaries of Richard Avedon, to get pictures of the models. To meet famous model Twiggy, the 12-year-old Meisel stood outside waiting for her at Melvin Sokolsky's studio.

He studied at the High School of Art and Design and Parsons The New School for Design where he attended different courses but he finally majored in fashion illustration.

One of Meisel's first jobs was to work for fashion designer Halston as an illustrator. He also taught illustration part-time at Parsons. Meisel never thought he could become a photographer. He admired photographers like Jerry Schatzberg, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon and Bert Stern. He felt that illustration was a thing of the past and found photography as a lasting medium. Later on, while working at Women's Wear Daily as an illustrator, he went to Elite Model Management where two girls working there allowed him take pictures of some of their models. He would photograph them in his apartment in Gramercy Park or on the street: on weekdays he would work at Women's Wear Daily and on weekends with the models. One of them was Phoebe Cates. Some of these models took their pictures to Seventeen magazine to show their model books and the people at Seventeen subsequently called Meisel and asked if he wanted to work with them. The rest is hiotory

Meisel currently works for many different fashion magazines, including US Vogue and continues to shoot editorials for Italian Vogue (The "Fashion Bible") and all the covers. His studio is located in New York City at 64 Wooster Street but he often rents the studios at Pier59 in New York and Smashbox Studios in Los Angeles.

The only pic of Meisel you are likely to find. He hates getting his picture taken and is a recluse who rarely goes out in public. He conducts all of his photo shoots behind a scrim, and doesn’t give interviews.

“Over the years, Steven Meisel has developed an extraordinary body of work, an almost impenetrable mystique–and an uncanny knack for finding fashion’s favorite faces.”
~Jonathan Van Meter / New York Magazine

Kate Winslet

Check out this campy dated clip from the 80's with Steven Meisel

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