Born in Luxembourg, Edward Steichen settled in the United States with his family in 1882 and, a talented painter inspired by Impressionism, began to practice photography as a teenager. In the very late 1890s, he founded the Photo Secession group with his friend Alfred Stieglitz, as well as the Camera Work publication with which they became the heralds of the European avant-garde and of American modernism.
All photographs have been accurately colorized by My Colorful Past.
Seduced by his pictorialist images, Condé Nast decided to name Steichen as Vogue and Vanity Fair’s artistic director and, for 15 years, he helped establish modern fashion photography.
"I don’t know of any art that is, has not and will not be commercial. After all, even Michelangelo liked to be payed for his work."
- Edward Steichen 1905
His photos of gowns for the magazine Art et Décoration in 1911 are regarded as the first modern fashion photographs ever published.
"The first ever modern fashion photography shoot. That is, photographing the garments in such a way as to convey a sense of their physical quality as well as their formal appearance, as opposed to simply illustrating the object."
- Jesse Alexander 1930
From 1923 to 1938, Steichen was regarded as the best-known and highest-paid photographer in the world. His portfolio is vast and has commanded an industry-wide respect for over 100 years.
On December 6, 1963, Steichen was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. Steichen purchased a farm that he called Umpawaug in 1928, just outside West Redding, Connecticut. He lived there until his death in 1973. After his death, Steichen's farm was made into a park, known as Topstone, which is open seasonally to this day.
Below is a wonderful documentary on the life of Steichen by Creative Arts Television.