What were the steps that lead us to the glossy editorial photographs and advertisements that we see in today’s top fashion magazines? Some say that the images that people have come to know and love can be contributed to Edward Steichen.
Steichen, born 1879 in Luxembourg, moved with his family to Milwaukee when he was still a toddler. It was during his adolescence that Steichen began his love affair with art. While at the American Fine Art Company Steichen began exploring the medium of photography. It was then he discovered that photography was a mean to capture life beyond the appearance of everyday reality.
Already a successful painter and photographer Edward Steichen began working for Conde Nast Publications. In 1923 Steichen was offered the position of chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair. It was while working with Conde Nast that Steichen created the template for modern fashion photography. Often known as a perfectionist, Steichen created a high standard through his precise eye for lighting and design. The results were images containing a soft, focused style that boasted clean, crisp lines of what is now known as Modernism. Steichen believed that photography, like art, should be informative. He not only changed the appearance of the images inside these magazines but the way the public viewed women wearing beautiful clothing.
After leaving his post as chief photographer in 1937 he never returned to the art of photographing clothing professionally. He went on to direct the Academy Award winning documentary, “The Fighting Lady.” Steichen's impact on photography can still be seen today in some of the world’s most prominent fashion magazines.