Stephen Meissel(Steven Meisel) (born June 5, 1954) is an American fashion photographer, who gained popularity and critical acclaim for his work on Vogue and Vogue Italia as well as his portraits of his girlfriend Madonna in her 1992 book, Sex. He is currently regarded as one of the most prominent fashion photographers in the business. He used to work regularly for both the American and Italian Vogue, and W (also published at that time by Condé Nast) and now exclusively for the British magazine Vogue.
Early in life
Meisel pursued his education at the High School of Art and Design, where he took a variety of courses before settling on fashion painting, as was revealed in an interview with Ingrid Sischy for Vogue France.
Meisel developed a keen interest in fashion at a young age and frequently preferred to draw models while perusing fashion magazines to dabble with other things. He soon enrolled at the High School of Art and Design in New York City. Later, he was admitted to the Parsons School of Design, where he graduated with a major in fashion painting.
One of his first jobs was for fashion designer Halston as a painter. Meisel taught illustration part-time at his university, the Parsons School of Design. Later, while working at Women’s Wear Daily as a painter, he went to Elite Model Management where Oscar Reyes, a reserved man who loved his illustrations, allowed him to take pictures of some of their models(Steven Meisel).
While working at Women’s Wear Daily during the week and with models on the weekends, he would shoot them in his Gramercy Park flat or outside. One of them was a future movie star, Phoebe Keats. Some of these models went to castings for Seventeen magazines to show their wallets, which contained some of his photographs, and people at Seventeen later contacted Meisel and asked if he wanted to work with them(Steven Meisel).
For Versace, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Loewe, Calvin Klein, Alberta Ferretti, and Barneys New York, Meisel launched advertising campaigns. Since 2004, Meisel has launched Prada campaigns every season. In April 2008, he shot his girlfriend Madonna in Vanity Fair, and later that year she was shot in the Spring 2009 campaign by Louis Vuitton.
He is a close friend of designer Anna Sui, for whom he has also launched several campaigns, although Sui rarely uses ads to promote her clothes(Steven Meisel).
Books & Exhibitions
Steven Meisel, a book containing some of his pictures, was released by the German teNeues Buchverlag in 2003 and quickly went out of print.
In 2014-2015, Phillips held an exhibition titled “Role Playing” which included some of Maisel’s pictorial works over the years, which were held in the cities of Paris, London, New York, and Miami.
In April 2023, it was announced that a new book showcasing the collaboration between Meisel and his longtime muse Linda Evangelista, titled Linda Evangelista illustrated by Steven Meisel, would be released in September 2023 by Phaidon Press.
Meisel is notorious for rarely being interviewed or photographed. However, in one of the few cases, Ingrid Sechey interviewed Wogue Paris. The following year, Meisel agreed to interview 032c magazine by Pierre-Alexandre de Looz. De Looz’s piece, “Who Is Steven Meisel?”, was accompanied by a folded 14-page retrospective of Meisel’s 20-year covers by Vogue Italia.