Arthur Elgort (born June 8, 1940) is an American fashion photographer best known for his work with Vogue
Elgort was born in Brooklyn, to Sophie (née Didimamoff) and Harry Elgort (April 10, 1908 – October 23, 1998), a restaurant owner. He is of Russian-Jewish heritage. Raised in New York City, he attended Stuyvesant High School and Hunter College, where he studied painting.
He lives in New York City with his wife, Grethe Barrett Holby, who is a producer, stage director, choreographer, and dramaturge, and three children, including actor and singer Ansel Elgort.
Elgort began his career working as a photo assistant to Gosta "Gus" Peterson. Elgort's 1971 debut in British Vogue created a sensation in the Fashion Photography world where his soon-to-be iconic "snapshot" style and emphasis on movement and natural light liberated the idea of fashion photography. In September 2008, he told Teen Vogue that he credited Mademoiselle for his big break: "They were really brave and gave me a chance. It was the first time I was shooting a cover instead of a half-page here or there."
He worked for such magazines as International and American Vogue, Glamour
, Rolling Stone
, and Teen Vogue, and shooting advertising campaigns with fashion labels as Chanel, Valentino, and Yves Saint Laurent. He still works for fashion publications, as well as working on his most recent 2009 advertising campaigns with Via Spiga and Liz Claiborne with Isaac Mizrahi. His work is exhibited in the permanent collections of the International Center of Photography
in New York, in the Victoria and Albert Museum
in London and in the Museum of Fine Arts
in Houston, Texas.
In 2011, Elgort won the CFDA Board of Directors' Award.
Much like photographers Martin Munkacsi
and Richard Avedon
before him, Arthur Elgort found inspiration working out of the studio— both in the city streets and in natural settings such as the countryside of upstate New York. Realizing that movement, humor, and natural light are all a part of the genuine photographic experience, Elgort took his models out into the world employing improvisation as a catalyst for the creative accidents to happen. As Elgort states in the Introduction to The Big Picture, “When my career was just beginning, I noticed that most of the magazines had plenty of studio photographers – All I saw were models standing still. So I decided to do something else. I took my models out on the streets of New York, Paris, or wherever I was, and the magazines liked it. It felt different.”
Some of Elgort’s most recognizable photographs— candid shots of Fashion greats Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, and Karlie Kloss— were taken when Elgort was not “working”, moments in between shoots, models getting ready behind the scenes, or unwinding after hours. It is Elgort’s photojournalist style of capturing these spontaneous, authentic moments that make his images so effortless, genuinely reflecting the periods he documented with an honesty allowing Elgort’s images to become more and more iconic as time passes.
Source: Fahey / Klein Gallery
Arthur was born in 1940 in New York City. As a teenager he attended Stuyvesant High School and then went on to study painting at Hunter College. Finding the medium too lonely, he decided to try his hand at photography and soon discovered it was a talent. Shortly thereafter he made his debut in British Vogue in 1971. With just one shoot he created not only a sensation but a permanent place in the world of fashion photography.
Arthur's relaxed and easy snapshot style was a breath of fresh air in a world where staged and stiff studio shoots with mannequin-like models were the norm. Arthur encouraged his subjects to move freely in the frame. The models he chose were lively, wore less make-up, and were simply enhanced by the natural light that he favored. Taking his models outside into the “real world,” where the clothes he was being asked to photograph would be worn and put to the test, became a signature of his personal style.
Arthur quickly became one of the best-known and most emulated photographers in the world. The risks that he took with his photographic style changed the idea of what a fashion photograph could be and pushed the entire industry forward. For over 50 years Arthur has been a major influence, from his Vogue covers to his luxury-brand ad campaigns, his work is an inspiration. His style and influence created infinite possibilities in the world of fashion photography which he continues to explore today from his base in New York City.