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The ouevre of pioneering photographer

Edward Steichen

(image from servatius.blogspot.co.uk):

Edward Steichen, behind the lens

served as inspiration for the a/w 2013 collection of Mary Katrantzou.

Ms. Katrantzou departed from her known aesthetic

of bold colour and intricate print,

adopting elements of Steichen’s arresting imagery:


light and shadow

haze tints

cityscape, flora


Edward Steichen 1879 – 1973

  born in Luxembourg, raised in the United states

 studied painting in Paris

but re-directed his focus to photography.

Steichen was a man of exhaustive and impressive achievements.

In 1945, he won the Academy Award in Best Documentary

for his naval war film, Fighting Lady.

He was the first director of photography at

MOMA (Museum of Modern Art, New York).

He collaborated with the legendary

proponent of the photographic arts, Alfred Steiglitz.

Steichen is famed for his use of a chiaroscuro approach

of capturing images.  An interplay of light, dark, shadow

to create arresting pictorials of dramatic and painterly effect.

To bring added dimension to his art,

Steichen experimented with novel techniques.

He sprinkled water on the lenses to create desired details.

He layered pigments over monochromatic images to incorporate a mist of colour.

Some were of an imagined, dream-like quality.

Without doubt, Steinchen revolutionised the field of photography in

how images were produced, presented and interpreted.

‘In dream-like state’

(images from metmuseum.org):

Balzac,  The Silhouette – 4 a.m., 1908

Roudin – The Thinker, 1902

The Flatiron, 1904

(images from time.com):

steichen photography

The Brooklyn Bridge, 1903

steichen photography

In Memorian, 1904

steichen photography

Amy May Wong, 1903

File:Edward Steichen-Experiment.jpg


Hailed by many as the first ‘modern’ fashion photographer,

Steichen was chief photographer to Conde Nast Publications.

His images appeared in Vogue and Vanity Fair magazines.

His fashion photos for Vogue presented models in bold, commanding pose;

offering the clothing and wearer in contrasts of light and obscure.

The Vogue and Vanity Fair Years 

(images from flickr.com)

  July 1928


January 1936

Model wearing Chanel, 1926



Vogue covers

The first ‘ever’ photographic cover, January, 1932

March 1934

December 1933

(images from smithsonianmag.com):

Mary Taylor

Model Dinarzade in a dress by Poiret

The model Dinarzade in a dress by Poiret, 1924

(images from condenaststore.com):


 November 1935





Vogue - November 1927 Premium Photographic Print

November, 1927

(images from corbisimages.com)

Vogue - April 1924 Premium Photographic Print


Vogue - December 1924 Premium Photographic Print

December, 1924

Vogue - August 1935 Premium Photographic Print

August, 1935






Vogue - June 1927 Premium Photographic Print

Evening shoes by Vida Moore, June 1927

Photographic portraits

Steichen’s images of the famed and celebrated,

seemed to capture glimpses of their inner selves.




Gloria Swanson

Actress Mary Heberden

 Mary Heberden, actress

Gary Cooper

 Gary Cooper, actor

Actress Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford, actress, 1932

dress by Schiaparelli

Paul Robeson as

Paul Robeson, singer/actor, 1933

as Emperor Jones

(images from corbisimages.com):

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart, aviator, 1931

Carl Sandburg, poet, 1919


(image from time.com):

sheichen photography

Fred Astaire, entertainer, 1927

(images from thecityreview.com)

Noel Coward by Steichen

Noel Coward, playwright, 1932

Isadora Dunan at the Portal of the Parthenon, Athens by Steichen

Isadora Duncan, dancer, 1921

at the portal of the Pantheon, Athens