Steven Meisel is an enigma. He does not give interviews. You cannot see where he is holidaying on Instagram. Google has his photographs by the thousands, but not much else. Nothing is known of his private life. Which is incredible. Genius. How in this day an age, can a man pull that off- total anonymity.
There is one photo of the man:
Taking in the 80’s, this is the only photo you will find.
Meisel was an illustrator in the 70’s and started taking photographs on the weekends- now Prada only uses him – and of course there has hardly been a Vogue Italia without his work in it. He has shot for every big fashion brand. In my estimation he must the highest earning photographer today. But we will not know now would we?
The reason for my almost teenage obsession with Meisel is his talent for taking a fashion shoot and turning it into a story. Funny, sad, ridiculous- his work has a narrative that goes far beyond photographing a dress on a model. He makes fun of the world in his own glamorous way. In the past, people have been a bit shocked- a mad house full of beautifully demented models, a woman having plastic surgery, he spins a bit of a story into each shoot- making it unforgettable. Models lieing on the sea shore as if they are oil spills. It is an opinion about the world we live in- shot beautifully. In a time when young photographers are shooting on white backdrops again, with zero thought put into the work- Meisel just keeps on giving us thrills for decades.