Style Icon: Bruce Weber

Bruce Weber: Probably the most respected figure in the world of fashion photography and popular photography today.

Having had decades of experience working with big names of fashion such as Ralph Lauren, Versace and Calvin Klein, fashion photographer Bruce Weber is one of the most prominent gurus in fashion photography and ad photography.

He’s a big man with a large face and probably more suited to playing a mall Santa than being our fashion icon. But photographer Bruce Weber is indeed one of the biggest, most respected icons of the fashion world.

Indicative of how popular a photographer Bruce Weber has become over the past few decades, is the fact that his first book, Bruce Weber (1983), now sells for well over 10 times what it did when first published. For more than four decades, Bruce Weber has been one of the most influential shutterbugs in the world, working for magazines like Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair and creating a plethora of iconic photos for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Versace and Calvin Klein. He has also been behind most of the (often controversial) campaigns for Abercrombie & Fitch since 1993.

Whatever motivates him, he has striven to make beauty synonymous with his name. Never shooting on digital, always film, he manages to capture the sublimely beautiful side of even average-looking people. He’s not an icon for the way he, personally, dresses or looks, but for the way he makes others look.

Here’s a man who, through much of his early life, was admittedly not part of the ‘in’ crowd in his macho farm/steel mill community of western Pennsylvania, but has turned into a supremely confident creator of everything that most humans aspire to be a part of, coaxing naturalistic, extraordinarily amazing images out of people (very young versions of River Phoenix, Justin Timberlake, Sienna Miller, Matt Dillon, Matt Damon, Christie Brinkley, Sean Penn, Kate Moss, Colin Farrell, Leo DiCaprio, Jude Law, Kristen Stewart, Andy Roddick and a slew of others).

He has largely been credited with lifting ad imagery to an art form. Weber has attributed his interest in iconic imagery to his father’s regular routine of taking family films each Sunday.

Although Weber is best known for his ads, he has also earned honors for his filmmaking. His first one, Broken Noses (1987), is a docudrama about a boxing prodigy. His documentary centered on the life of jazz musician Chet Baker, Let’s Get Lost (1989), earned an Academy Award nomination. Weber first studied theater before enrolling in the filmmaking school at NYU in the ‘60s. While there, he was mentored by photographers Lisette Model and Diane Arbus. His most recent works include a fantastic coffee-table book for Dedon, an art exhibit in Miami of his images of Haiti and a short film for Abercrombie & Fitch.

For the full biography and hi-res images of Bruce Weber and his work, grab the February/March issue of DA MAN by clicking here.