Bert Stern : Le photographe favori de Marilyn Monroe est mort
publié le 27 juin 2013 - par Thomas Montet
en ligne sur purepeople
Triste nouvelle pour le monde de la photographie. Le célèbre photographe américain Bert Stern est mort, mardi 25 juin 2013, à son domicile de Manhattan, a révélé son épouse depuis 2009, Shannah Laumeister. Le professionnel de l'objectif, reconnu pour ses clichés de Marilyn Monroe, avait 83 ans.
Bert Stern, dont les causes de la mort n'ont pas été dévoilées, était un photographe de mode, d'art et de publicité qui a connu ses années les plus fastes entre 1950 et 1960. À l'époque il construit sa carrière en parallèle de celle de l'icône du cinéma hollywoodien : Marilyn Monroe. C'est d'ailleurs grâce aux clichés de l'actrice de "Sept ans de réflexion" qu'il connaîtra une gloire mondiale. Six semaines avant la mort de l'actrice (le 5 août 1962), il la prenait sous toutes les coutures durant trois jours consécutifs pour les besoins du magazine Vogue. Ces photos, réalisées dans une chambre de l'Hôtel Bel-Air de Los Angeles, ont donné lieu à un livre contenant plus de 2000 clichés, intitulé "Marilyn Monroe : The Complete Last Sitting". "C'était une expérience d'une seule fois dans une vie d'avoir Marilyn Monroe dans une chambre d'hôtel", déclarait le photographe dans le documentaire "Bert Stern : Original Madman", sorti en 2010 et réalisé par son épouse.
Au cours de sa carrière, Bert Stern a notamment photographié Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Drew Barrymore et Lindsay Lohan (avec laquelle il a reproduit 'The Last Sitting'). Il a aussi réalisé un travail de directeur de la photographie sur le tournage du film "Lolita" de Stanley Kubrick. Du côté de la publicité, l'un de ses plus fameux clichés est celui d'un verre de Martini dans le désert égyptien, réalisé en 1955. Bert Stern ne s'imposait qu'une consigne dans son travail : "J'aime mettre mes sentiments dans mes photos". Beaucoup de ses oeuvres sont exposées dans des musées comme au 'Fashion Institute of Technology' ou au 'Museum of Modern Art' de New York.
Bert Stern avait trois enfants : Trista, Susannah et Bret, nés de son premier mariage avec la danseuse Allegra Kent, dont il avait divorcé en 1975.
Bert Stern, Elite Photographer Known for Images of Marilyn Monroe, Dies at 83
article published on June 26, 2013
by Paul Vitello
Bert Stern, an elite commercial photographer who helped redefine advertising and fashion art in the 1950s and ’60s but is perhaps best known for his painfully raw and poignant photos of Marilyn Monroe, taken for Vogue six weeks before her death, died on Tuesday at his home in Manhattan. He was 83.
His death was confirmed by Shannah Laumeister, a longtime friend, who said she and Mr. Stern had been secretly married since 2009. No cause was given.
Mr. Stern’s half-century career had multiple peaks, including “Jazz on a Summer’s Day,” his 1959 documentary film about the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, which was selected in 1999 for the National Film Registry in recognition of its historical significance.
His photographs of Monroe, taken over three days in June 1962 in the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, were collected in a mammoth 2000 book, “Marilyn Monroe: The Complete Last Sitting.”
“It was a one-time-in-a-lifetime experience, to have Marilyn Monroe in a hotel room,” Mr. Stern said in the 2010 documentary “Bert Stern: Original Madman,” “even though it was turned into a studio, where I could do anything I wanted.” Ms. Laumeister directed the film.
Many of the photos showed Monroe unclothed, or posing behind transparent scarves. “She was so beautiful at that time,” Mr. Stern told Newsday. “I didn’t say, ‘Pose nude.’ It was more one thing leading to another: You take clothes off and off and off and off and off. She thought for a while. I’d say something and the pose just led to itself.”
Early in his career Mr. Stern made his mark with a 1955 close-up of a martini in the Egyptian desert, pyramid shimmering in the background. The picture, which he shot on location with a crew of technicians and models for a Smirnoff vodka advertisement, was considered groundbreaking in its simplicity.
Along with Irving Penn, Richard Avedon and Mark Shaw, Mr. Stern was part of a generation of photographers who made clear, clutter-free, arresting images the language of glossy magazine advertising, which until then had mainly used pictures to illustrate text.
In the program notes for a 1988 Manhattan gallery exhibition, Robert Sobieszek, the curator of what is now the International Museum of Photography and Film at the George Eastman House, called Mr. Stern’s martini photograph “the most influential break with traditional advertising photography” of its time.
In a statement considered provocative in its day, Mr. Stern told a panel of commercial artists in 1959, “I like to put my feelings into my photographs.”
That same year he received an assignment that took some effort to connect with his feelings: the makers of Spam asked him to “romanticize shish kebab made from Spam,” he told The New York Times. Mr. Stern took a crew of helpers and models to the Gulf of Mexico to shoot that one — a dreamy shot of that meat product. The client was pleased.
Bert Stern was born in Brooklyn on Oct. 3, 1929. In a 1968 interview with Newsday, he said his father was a children’s portrait photographer. After dropping out of high school in his senior year, he served in the Army, working as a photographer on a base in Japan.
That experience helped him land a job in the mailroom at Look magazine, where he became a protégé of Hershel Bramson, the art director, who would later give him his first job as a commercial photographer. The Smirnoff campaign was his first assignment.
Soon he was sought after by magazines, advertisers, Hollywood studios and fashion designers, and his range of subjects grew to include celebrities, movie stars and commercial products — Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper, Truman Capote, Twiggy, Elizabeth Taylor, Noxema skin cream, One a Day vitamins, Wish-Bone salad dressing and, of course, Marilyn Monroe.
In addition to Ms. Laumeister, Mr. Stern is survived by two daughters, Trista and Susannah; a son, Bret; a sister, Diane Schlanger; and three grandchildren. His marriage to the dancer Allegra Kent, the mother of his children, ended in divorce in 1975.
Mr. Stern’s work is in many museum collections, including those of the Museum of Modern Art and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and the International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, N.Y..
In various interviews Mr. Stern said taking pictures had always been his way of seeing people, and even of relating to them in ways he could not otherwise.
It was why his favorite subject was always professional models. “Models more than actresses,” he said. “What makes a great model is her need, her desire; and it’s exciting to photograph desire.”