Those who know me really well can tell you that I am a bit of an old soul. Okay, maybe a lot of an old soul. I love black-and-white films, would dress like Grace Kelly every day if I could, and, most of all, love a good vintage photograph. A vintage fashion photograph, if you want to get specific. As much as I love Annie Leibovitz, Steven Meisel, and all the other great camera men and women of our day, there is something about pictures from decades past that really get me inspired. Namely, the work of the late Horst P. Horst.
I first stumbled across Horst’s ironic moniker when skimming through an issue of Vogue over the summer. Although he may sound unfamiliar, you’ve probably seen his work before. He first appeared in French Vogue in 1931, and was an editorial regular at numerous publications until 1991. What I personally love about his work is the undone-ness, a sort of imperfection found even in his high fashion photos. The model, however beautiful she may be, always has a weathered expression on her face. In a sense, she evokes more of Bette Davis or Joan Crawford vibe than a Marilyn or an Elizabeth Taylor. His portraits are equally arresting. Even when capturing First Lady Nixon in a sunny yellow ensemble (the walls, by the way, match), Horst somehow managed to convey an air solemness. Foreshadowing, perhaps, Mrs. Nixon’s scandalous exit from the White House? Looking back now, it’s easy to think so.
Below are some of my favorite of Horst P. Horst’s photographs, all of which can be found at http://www.horstphorst.com. I hope that you all enjoy his work as much as I do, as it’s truly something special.