Born in New York City in 1929, Bert Stern was a self-taught photographer who rose to the top if the industry as both a fashion and advertising photographer. He started out taking photos of his mother and sister with a second-hand camera, and a passion was born.
Stern began his career as an assistant to the art director of Look magazine in 1946, just as a yet-unknown Norma Jeane Dougherty was launching a successful modeling career. In 1949 he became the art director for Mayfair magazine, a position he held for two years before moving on to L.C. Gumbiner advertising agency. He joined the war in Korea as a photographer for the army before returning to the advertising world again.
Through his work in advertising in the 1950s, Bert Stern is credited with having created the modern concept of advertising photography. He would be known for his work for companies such as Smirnoff, IBM, and Revlon, and eventually made a documentary that named him has the “Original Mad Man”.
Stern was also known for photographing some of the most famous people in history, and did fashion shoots for major magazines like Vogue and Glamour. Among his subjects have been Elizabeth Taylor, Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Twiggy, Drew Barrymore, Madonna, and Lindsey Lohan – with whom he re-created the photos of Marilyn Monroe for which he is most famous.
In the summer of 1962, Bert Stern was hired by Vogue to shoot a series of photos of Marilyn Monroe. The photos would become known as “The Last Sitting” and were later published in a book by that same name.
These photos include fashion shots of Marilyn in various outfits as well as nude photos of Marilyn wrapped in a white sheet and draped in sheer scarves, pearl necklaces, and other accessories.
Stern’s shoot with Marilyn later became controversial among fans for several reasons – first that he admits to plying her with alcohol to get her more willing to pose nude, and second that he published photos Marilyn had marked as not for publication. In spite of this, his photos have become iconic and are some of the most copied of Marilyn’s many sittings.
Stern’s career continued strong for many decades after Marilyn’s passing, but he remains best known for The Last Sitting, and described Marilyn has his favorite of all the people he photographed in an interview shortly before his death.
Stern was married twice, to ballerina Allegra Kent in 1959, later divorced, and again in 2009 to director Shannah Laumeister. He had three children with Kent, all of whom survived him. Bert Stern passed away at the age of 83 in June of 2013.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]