Bert Stern

Born: Brooklyn, U.S., 1929
Died: Manhattan, U.S., 2013

Bert Stern was born in Brooklyn in 1929. He took up his first work at the age of seventy in the mail service for Look where he stayed for two and a half years.

Soon after, he became artistic director of a small magazine and launched himself into photography on his own.

During his military service he became cameraman for the American army based in Japan.

From 1953, he dedicated himself to fashion and advertising photography and worked on many assignments including Smirnoff Vodka, Volkswagen, Pepsi-Cola, DuPont de Nemours to only name a few.

His art is generally characterised as glamorous and romantic.

“The less a photograph is tampered with the more it retains its strength.”

He has taken pictures of many celebrities – Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Drew Barrymore and Lindsay Lohan (recreating The Last Sitting) … – but his most important pieces of work is said to be the portrait of Louis Armstrong taken in 1959 during an advertising campaign, and one of Sue Lyon, the actress in the very controversial Stanley Kubrick film “Lolita” in 1962.

In June of that same year, he proposed a photo reportage to Vogue about Marilyn Monroe at the Bel Air Hotel in Hollywood.

“I want Marilyn in her purest state.”

A very rare event, the star exceptionally accepted to be photographed nude. The session lasted twelve consecutive hours. The editorial staff of Vogue judged the result too provocative and demanded for another session to be taken, where she would be wearing clothes. The same day as this issue’s publication of Vogue, the actress’ death was announced.

Stern is divorced from the ballerina, Allegra Kent.

The renowned American photographer, passed away on June 26, 2013, leaving behind a lasting legacy of iconic images.

Bert Stern Biography

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Written by Marine Lazarus

Marine Lazarus, an Anglo-French photographer who moved to UK 3 years ago to study journalism at Brunel University in London. Marine is responsible for our Photographers Biographies section.

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