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Bert Stern (born 3 October 1929 in New York)  is an American fashion and celebrity self-taught photographer. In 1951 he was a cameraman for the US Army in Japan. Since 1953 he has been working as a fashion and advertising photographer. He was one of the first to design newspaper advertisements in color that were difficult to distinguish from editorial picture pages. His style can be circumscribed with words such as glamour, romanticism, and delicacy: “If you want to be seduced by the camera, by a man who can fall in love with any object, go see Bert Stern”, is how a publisher characterized him. His outstanding abilities in portrait photography wre especially noticable in Louis Armstrong, a picture taken around 1959 on the occasion of an advertising compaign for an early Polaroid film. The sharpness of detail and gradation of the black-and-white tones was perfect to a point that the client considered it “too good”, but still had it printed. But without doubt the most famous of Stern’s photographs are those he took of Marylin Monroe. they were shot during her last photographic session fo Vogue magazine at a Los Angeles hotel in June of 1962, six weeks before she died. In the course of three days Stern shot almost 2700 pictures, including portraits, fashion photographs and nudes, which were published in the 1992 picture book The Complete Last Sitting and which attest to the unique intimacy and understanding between model and photographer during that session. At that time Vogue published a total of eight of the black-and-white shots. Bert Stern became increasingly successful during the sixties, but his photographs of Marylin Monroe remained very special: In the course of the years I noticed that the pictures we had taken together now belonged to everyone. What we created had grown beyond me. Somehow they slipped away from me and into the dreams of everyone”. Bert Stern lives all his life in New York.


Full text from: A.S. (2007) 20th century photography: Bert Stern. Koeln: Taschen.

PHOTOS (as presented):

1.  Marylin Monroe

2. Louis Armstrong

3. Marylin Monroe

4. Twiggy

5. Ann Margret

6. Marylin Monroe

7. Sophie Dahl,May/Year,2002


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