On Photography: Horst P. Horst, 1906-1999
Published by Kevin Ames- 3/17/19
“I don’t think photography has anything remotely to do with the brain. It has to do with eye appeal.” -Horst P. Horst
Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann was his given name. He adopted Horst P. Horst as his working name and went on to become an icon of American photography.
Horst began by studying architecture and assisting the famous architect Le Corbusier in Paris. He became acquainted with George Hoyningen-Huene and began his career as a photographer. By 1931 he was working for French Vogue. He had mounted a well-received exhibit at Germain Seligman’s gallery in 1938.
During his stint with the magazine, he created the signature photograph of his career. The photo was made just hours before Horst left Paris to move to New York. Compare the recreation from the video to the original made in 1939. The photograph is famous for its sensuality showing the model with raised arms, tilted head and slightly undone corset. It served as the inspiration for a scene in Madonna’s video “Vogue” at 4 min 30 sec.
"It wasn’t easy. It looks as if there is only one light source. But there were reflectors and extra spotlights as well. I don’t know how I did it. I couldn’t repeat it. It was created by emotion. (On his 1939 photograph “Mainbocher Corset”)
New York Vogue
Relocated to New York, Horst concentrated on his photography at Vogue that he had begun in Paris. His success in Europe earned him work on some of Vogue’s most prestigious shoots. As portraiture became more and more popular at that time, he became well known in New York society. He made photographs of notables — Harry Truman, Coco Chanel, Truman Capote, Salvador Dali, Marlene Dietrich and Andy Warhol.
In 1940, he made the most famous of all of his Vogue covers. He photographed Lisa Penn Fonssagrives who shaped her body to form the letters V-O-G-U-E. In May of 1942, working with Vogue’s legendary art director, Alexander Liberman he created “Having a Ball”. Both photos are in the opening photo.
Horst applied to become a citizen of the United States in 1940. It was a year before the United States declared war on Nazi Germany. Horst joined the Army in 1942 and went to basic training in 1943. He worked as a photographer during his service returning to Vogue in 1945 where he worked alongside Irving Penn and Cecil Beaton.
Fashion after the war
Fashion became an important part of the culture following the defeat of Germany and Japan. Collections from European houses were in high demand. Horst innovated his style in response to work by Richard Avedon at Harper’s Bazaar. His photographs reflected his new excitement and verve behind the camera.
Diana Vreeland became editor of American Vogue in 1961. She encouraged Horst to travel the world photographing people in the upper classes. This aligned with his love of making portraits. It offered him the opportunity to photograph not only individuals but still lifes and architecture, two of his passions, as well.
Diana Vreeland left Vogue in 1971. Horst remained very involved in locations and celebrity portraits. He photographed Jerry Hall in Barbados and Duran Duran in London. While in New York his subjects included Brook Shields, Tom Wolfe, and Roy Lichtenstein. He photographed for clients — Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and the New York City Ballet. In Europe, royalty lined up to sit for him.
The Eighties & Nineties
Horst worked more and more for House and Garden magazine in Europe, the Middle East, Central America and in Asia. All the time he continued to photograph for Vogue. At the same time, he worked increasingly on writing books and mounting exhibits of his work. His last commercial project was in 1991 for British Vogue.
Horst P. Horst died in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida in 1999.
Horst P. Horst Biography
PROJECTed IMAGE AWARDS
Phil Belbin 'Roo Family Portrait'
Alan Edwards 'Panicking Zebra'
Bob Green 'Incarceration'
Bob Green 'The Watchers
Pat Halpin 'Dining Al Fresco'
Nadine LIndsay 'Video Maker'
Chris Stimson 'Flamingo Down'
Gary White 'St Vitus Cathedral'
COLOR PRINTS -CREDITS
Gianni Biasi 'Changing City'
Gianni Biasi 'My Screwdriver'
John Halpin 'Bath Tube'
Sylvia Jeffrey '2 Boats'
Sylvia Jeffrey 'Cardona Hotel'
Diny Jones 'Bushfire'
Nadine Lindsay 'Wings over Sails'
Mike Nolan 'Wharf Reflections'
John Roberts 'Eastern Reef Egret'
John Roberts 'Golden Ord Spider'
John Roberts 'Whiskers'
Phil Belbin 'S.F. Street Scene'
Bob Green 'The Eyes have It'
Chris Stimson 'Josh-Cyanotype'
Chris Stimson 'Three Amigos'
Gary White 'Tied Up'
Gary White 'Back Street Salzburg'
Di Sylvester 'Hong Kong Ferryman'
Sylvia Jeffrey 'Doubtful DSound'
Mark Passfield 'The Supports'
Charles Foreman 'In the Clouds'
Di Sylvester 'Passing Time In Jericho'
Joe Woodward 'Iron Festival Lithgow'
Sue Robertson 'Penny Farthing'
Sue Robertson 'Back to Nature'
Barbara Seager 'Memories'
Charles Foreman 'On the Beach'
Diny Jones 'Brush With Style'
Joe Woodward 'Catching up on Work'
Jacqui Davey 'The Shopper'
Jacqui Davey 'Mirror Image'
Toru Mori 'Islandic Kayak'
Toru Mori 'Flam Norway'
Toru Mori 'Islandic Church'
Margaret Renaud 'Drought'
John Stephens 'Canola Field'
John Stephens 'Water Trough'
PRINTED IMAGE AWARDS
Five Strategies for Photographing Cities
The Quick and Dirty Way to Do Long Exposures Without a Neutral Density Filter
Why Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone is Good for Your Photography
Create Light Rays in Three Simple Steps in PS
40 Inspiring Examples of Street Photography
The Silent Drama of Photography
10 Tips on How to Improve Your Photography Game in the Next Year
10 Tips on How to Improve Your Photography Game in the Next Year.
Three quick tips for Color Toning your images in Photoshop
How to Sharpen Images in Photoshop with the High Pass filter
Step by Step Portrait Processing in Lightroom
In House Workshop-Still Life/Table Top
Workshop-Narellan Chapel with Kylie Lyons
Presentation-“Fine Art Photography” (Terry Muller-Maher)
Image Evaluation-Water (Paul Harmon)
Field Trip-Wollongong Grevillia Park
Annual General Meeting & Member Presentations
Image Evaluation-Still Life/Table Top
from the editor
Welcome to the third issue of the 2019 Southern Highlands Newsletter, and congratulations to all award recipients.
The featured artist this month is Horst P Horst, a pioneer in classic fashion photography. His isonic images transcend fashion and time and illustrate the effectiveness of composition and illusion created by his use of light.
As always if there are specific areas you would like addressed in the newsletters just send me an email (email@example.com) and I will endeavour to include articles and content to cover your requests.
Upcoming 2019 program