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Steven Meisel: A Life Through The Lens

A look at the man behind fashion’s most iconic photographs.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps this is why fashion photographer Steven Meisel rarely comments on his work, instead allowing the art to speak for itself. Having shot every cover of Vogue Italia since 1988, Meisel is the mastermind behind some of the most iconic images in fashion over the past forty years.

Meisel with Madonna
Meisel with Madonna

His remarkable career in photography began in the late 1970s, whilst he was working as an illustrator for New York publication Women’s Wear Daily. Oscar Reyes of Elite Management asked Steven, whose work he was a fan of, if he would be willing to photograph his models – some of these photographs made their way to the offices of Seventeen magazine, who saw something special in Meisel, and immediately wanted to work with him.

The rest was history, and what followed was an impressive portfolio of thought-provoking and provocative work, which Meisel said in a rare 2008 interview with 032C is designed to ‘hold up a mirror’ to societal issues and cultural changes in the world that we live in.

Steven Meisel: A Life Through The Lens

“The one thing that taking pictures allows you to do,” he explained to Pierre Alexandre De Looz, “is occasionally make a larger statement.” Meisel’s work certainly does not shy away from contentious issues. His editorials have encouraged discussions on everything from racism to war, and from the morality of the paparazzi to the growing popularity of cosmetic surgery. Meisel has previously stated that it isn’t uncommon for publications to reject his work for crossing a line.

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