Edward Steichen: Lives in Photography

Overview

By far the most lavish, thoughtfully selected, and beautifully produced book of Steichen’s work.
Edward Steichen (1879-1973) is unquestionably one of the most prolific, influential, and indeed controversial names in the history of photography. He was admired by many for his achievements as a fine-art photographer, while impressing countless others with the force of his commercial accomplishments. The influence of his legendary exhibition, The Family of Man, is still felt. This ...

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Overview

By far the most lavish, thoughtfully selected, and beautifully produced book of Steichen’s work.
Edward Steichen (1879-1973) is unquestionably one of the most prolific, influential, and indeed controversial names in the history of photography. He was admired by many for his achievements as a fine-art photographer, while impressing countless others with the force of his commercial accomplishments. The influence of his legendary exhibition, The Family of Man, is still felt. This volume traces Steichen’s career trajectory from his Pictoralist beginnings to his time with Condé Nast through his directorship of photography at the Museum of Modern Art. Hundreds of his photographs are reproduced in stunning four-color to reveal the complexities and nuances of these black-and-white images. Essays from a range of scholars explore his most important subjects and weigh his legacy. Contributors include A. D. Coleman, Joanna T. Steichen, and Ronald Gedrim. With a full bibliography and chronology, this is the most complete and wide-ranging volume on Steichen ever published.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
It may be hard to believe, but Steichen, the "inventor of modern fashion photography," began as a pictorialist photographer under mentor Alfred Stieglitz; his lauded spot in fashion came about only by chance and economic necessity. After a brief stint in photojournalism, covering WWI battlefields, Steichen emigrated from Paris to New York and, without money or prospect of work, found his way serendipitously into the offices of Vogue and Vanity Fair, where they were already looking for ways to reinvent the portrait photograph. Steichen's understated but theatrical style was a perfect fit. Collected here, his work at Condé Nast's Vanity and Vogue includes remarkable images of dancers Martha Graham and Ginger Rogers; actors Gloria Swanson, Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo; writers H.G Wells and William Butler Yeats. Though he created the first color images for the magazines in 1931, Steichen's best and most characteristic work is in black and white; as Carol Squiers notes in her essay, "he took the light level down considerably, using shadowy darkness the way former Nast photographer de Meyer had used spangled light to signify glamour and allure." This gorgeous volume also features essays by six art historians and a "Who's Who" of Steichen's subjects. Fashion page devotees with a thing for vintage style should be mesmerized. 250 b&w and color photos.
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Library Journal

This impressive, large-format book provides a broad, in-depth study of the life and works of Edward Steichen (1879-1973), one of the most talented and prolific photographers in American history. It traces Steichen's career from his early years as a Pictorialist to his stunning success as a commercial photographer, curator of the brilliant "The Family of Man" exhibition, and director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art. Editors Brandow (curator & director, Fdn. for the Exhibition of Photography) and Ewing (director, Musée de l'Elysee, Lausanne) have done an admirable job of selecting and arranging the images and contributions from many other scholars. They also include comprehensive biographical essays about and critiques of the work of this legendary photographer as well as a detailed chronology. Most impressive, however, are the more than 250 lovely reproductions, many printed in four colors to capture the subtleties of Steichen's classic works. One of the finest photography books published in many years; highly recommended for all libraries.
—Raymond Bial

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393066265
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/6/2008
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 10.50 (w) x 12.40 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Todd Brandow is the founding director of the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and in Paris.

William A. Ewing was Director of the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne from 1996 to 2010. His many publications on photography include The Body (1994), Face: The New Photographic Portrait (2006) and Arnold Newman: Masterclass (2012).

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