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Publishers WeeklyIt 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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