Arthur Elgort is one of the most famous fashion photographers in the world, and to think he started as an art student in Brooklyn. Now he’s the king of Vogue, but that wasn’t always the case.
He helped make fashion photography less staged, more informal and took it to the streets for spontaneous and free moments. As Elgort says: “My studio was small and dark at the time and I wanted better light, so I went out!”
Now, some of his best works are shown in an exhibition at the CAMERA WORK Gallery in Berlin until January 29th. And looking back, some of his photographs were the basis for street style, long before it became popular.
Elgort photographed some of the most iconic supermodels of our time, from Kate Moss to Christy Turlington. He approached photography after learning that being a painter was a solitary job. He bought his first camera, a Nikon, and took pictures of the girls at his school, which led to him building his portfolio and then, eventually, his photo assignments.
“I was so excited about photography, I couldn’t stop,” he said in an interview. “I used the girls from my school as models. I never thought photography was difficult and I’ve always enjoyed it. “
This new exhibition in Berlin offers an insight into the creative work of the internationally renowned photographer who changed the genre of fashion photography with his defined style. Over the past 40 years, we see how he filmed the Rolling Stones in an intimate and informal setting for filming classical ballet performances in the 1970s.
This is Elgort’s first exhibition in Germany and features iconic shots by Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen along with personal works and editorial portraits of musicians.
His best advice for young photographers is to learn how to shoot analog. “My advice is to learn how to shoot on film, not just digital,” said Elgort. “You will learn the trade much better and be a better photographer for it.”
According to Elgort, his all-time favorite photographers are Helmut Newton, Irving Penn and Steven Meisel. But her work isn’t exactly obvious when it comes to the sensual side of fashion photography. His work remains a balanced art of subtlety, mystery and elegance.
As Elgort once said: “If you’re doing a nude facade, you don’t want to scare people.”