January 28th, 2015 | Janelle
Meisel’s self portrait from Loewe‘s latest campaign
As a creator who has always let his work speak for itself, Steven Meisel rarely gives interviews or does press. A quiet, yet powerful presence within the industry he has come to represent the gold standard of photography; whenever he shoots a campaign or cover it’s big news, his work is often described as making the supermodels and in spite of his shy, introspective demeanor he continues to be one of fashion’s most fascinating characters. Perhaps that is why Tim Blanks‘s appealingly in-depth interview with Meisel for WSJ feels so essential. Tackling topics ranging from Meisel’s career retrospective, Role Model at Phillips de Pury, to his thoughts on controversial shoots for Vogue Italia, Blanks cuts a wide swath through years of industry history. As always Blanks’ insightful questions and wry writing style offer a new perspective on the familiar, showing us the personal side of a photographer who communicates his deepest feelings through his images rather than his social media account.
On old pictures : “Emotionally, it’s very difficult for me to look at old work. That’s why it was so hard to do the Phillips thing. I either look at what I could have done better, or I start crying. I’m ridiculously sensitive, that’s just who I am, so it’s really tough for me to look at old pictures.”
On changes within the modeling & fashion industries: “I think the business has changed so much. It’s more like how many likes you get on Instagram, which I do not do. I’m not into it. I don’t know what makes a star anymore. I’m just doing what I do. So is there an expectation? Not from me. And I hope not so much from the model, because I don’t want to disappoint anybody. My goal is just to do what I need to do on that day.”
On aging: I don’t care about age. Society is extremely ageist, obviously, and it’s just nonsense. To think of a woman’s life as only interesting and important until 25 is stupid and also so hurtful to women. The business creates it and then lets you hate yourself for it. Age is beautiful; life is that. You just begin to be a woman past the age of 30. You’re just learning life and having experiences.
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