Steven Meisel is an American fashion photographer, who obtained popularity and critical acclaim with his work in US and Italian Vogue and his photographs of friend Madonna in her 1992 book Sex. He is now considered one of the most successful fashion photographers in the industry, shooting regularly for both US and Italian Vogue, as well as other such companies. Starting off as a Fashion Designer, Meisel built his career up from inspiration of work by other photographers, such as Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. Today, he’s a very well-known and very highly published photographer, focusing his work on “unfashionable” fashion.
By this, I mean he focuses his work on abnormal fashion choices and appearances, dressing the models in clothes that you wouldn’t see the average person walking through town wearing. His work is outspoken and outstanding in all meanings of the word, making him one of the most famous fashion photographers in the modern day. His work is often featured in magazines such as Seventeen, and has been requested to shoot album covers like the “Like a Virgin” cover, or “Daydream” by Mariah Carey.
Aside from working with famous faces, I believe Meisel focuses his work around emotion. All his work fits suitability in to separate age groups. For instance, more basic images such as the woman at cross legged on the floor wearing a short sleeved hoodie and a long sleeved shirt, could be relatable to an audience of all ages, whereas another rather dark image of the woman in black hair wearing all white could be considered to be disturbing to different ages. It doesn’t always matter what the model is wearing, but movement, expression and surrounding background could be the difference to being restricted to audiences by age or not.
The emotion behind all the models, aside from the latter one to be mentioned before, have all got quite blank expressions. It’s hard to read faces, it’s almost as if they’ve been told to keep their emotions on a mutual level for the shot. You can’t tell what they’re thinking or feeling, and to some it could give them a more “official” look. Certain individuals in the world take the world of fashion very seriously, and see it to be a bit less serious and more as if it were seen as a joke if a model is to be smiling or laughing, much like when you see models walking down a catwalk in new apparel.
The lighting Lindbergh uses is quite natural in a lot of his work. I believe he does so to give it a more “real” look. An example is the image of the woman in the red coat with, what appears to be, a yellow ruffled neck accessory. The lighting shows no shine on the skin, no reflection on any of the clothing and no unnatural shine in the hair.
Meisel’s target audience possibly refers to working class women and girls of any age, since most- if not all- of his work focuses on women, their natural beauty and their varied fashion tastes. As mentioned before, Meisel seems to prefer to capture his models in a natural way, so it looks as unposed as possible.