The Fierce Fashion Photography of Steven Meisel
Whether you know it or not, your eyes have passed over a fierce Steven Meisel photograph at least once or twice in your life. His iconic fashion imagery has been pushing the boundaries since 1988 when he first started working for Vogue. Creative, original, lushly exotic, sometimes shocking, sometimes gender bending – his portfolio goes beyond typical fashion photography.
It’s tough to pick just a few images to feature for many artists, and Steven is no exception. Whether he has set up a whole scene complete with props and backdrops or whether it is just a closeup of a glossy coiffed model – his photos capture stunning and dramatic feasts.
Hanging out with and photographing the beautiful people, Steven is ironically, very camera-shy himself. One of the few available photos of him (above) shows a knock out version of his younger self. “When I met Steven I was struck by his beauty, what a beautiful man, beautiful skin and beautiful cheekbones!” says Naomi Campbell. His projects with Madonna include the cover for her album Like a Virgin in 1984. and the coffee-table photography book Sex, published in 1992.
Steven goes deeper than just the pretty face, pushing the boundaries of social stereotypes in gender, race and class. His work is more interesting, peeling back the persona under the skin – projecting and delving into issues most fashion magazines left unsaid.
In 2008 Steven organized an Italian Vogue issue for which he exclusively photographed black models. “Fashion was much more open in the ’70s, and even in the ’80s, which is insane. Today, it’s totally closed down and worse than it has ever been. Look at your ads and you don’t see any black girls, maybe once in a blue moon. Look at editorials; once in a while they allow it. . . . It is very disheartening.”
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