Before Instagram was an art form, fashion photographers were pop culture royalty. From the postwar covers of Vogue until the triumph of the digital image, the fashion photographer sold not only clothes but ideals of beauty and fantasies of perfect lives. Even when they succumbed to temptation and excess, the very few photographers who rose to the top were artists above all.
In his follow-up to the New York Times best-selling Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women, Michael Gross probes the lives, hang-ups, and artistic triumphs of more than a dozen of fashion photography's greatest visionaries: Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Melvin Sokolsky, Bert Stern, David Bailey, Bill King, Gilles Bensimon, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel, Corinne Day, Bob and Terry Richardson, and more. From Avedon's haute couture fantasies and telling portraits to Weber's sensual, intimate, and heroic slices of life, and from Bob Richardson's provocations to his son Terry's transgressions, Gross takes listeners behind the scenes and reveals the revolutionary creative processes and fraught private passions of these visionary magicians.
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This is one of the best non-fiction books I've heard in recent memory.
There is no disconnect between the reading and the book itself, I often felt as if the author were speaking to me.
If you are interested in fashion photography or the history of fashion, this book is peerless. Like taking a grad school course from the best kind of professor. Brilliantly designed, researched, written and framed. I finished and immediately listened to it twice more. Inspiring, educational, fascinating on a human level as well as on a historical level. So many stories here, and the author has tied them together in such a perfectly choreographed manner. If this falls anywhere in your area of interest, I highly recommend.
- Maia C. Larkin