Fashion and celebrity photographer Victor Skrebneski, who photographed nearly every major celebrity of the past 70 years has died.
Skrebneski shot a teenaged Cindy Crawford. She said in a statement,
“Working with Victor was one of the great privileges of my modeling career.”
“He was my first mentor and taught me so much about the art of modeling and photography. Those years I spent on his set under the beautiful lighting being directed by a true artist, prepared me for my life in fashion, but also, his elegance and sophistication shaped my definition of a true gentleman. He will be missed.”
Often shooting in lush, contrasty lack and white, Skrebneski discovered Jennifer Beals, shot Oprah, Raquel Welch, Francois Truffaut, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Diana Ross, Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn, Barack and Michelle Obama and countless models like Iman, Paulina Porizkova and Crawford.
Born in Chicago, he attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology. In 1989, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago featured an exhibit of his work. A 50-year retrospective of his work was organized by The Museum of Contemporary Photography in 1999.
Skrebneski set up his studio in Chicago in 1952, and was known for advertising campaigns for Estee Lauder and magazine work Chicago-based Playboy.
His vast portfolio included artists, music legends, literary lions, religious leaders, civil rights figures, old Hollywood. When he set up his studio to shoot a Dewar’s Scotch ad with Orson Welles, he said Welles examined the lighting and camera position and told Skrebneski,
“Ok maestro, let’s begin.”
When he shot David Bowie, he told WWD,
“Every picture I photographed him in, he’s naked. He absolutely loved being naked.
He told me he didn’t know what he looked like. When he goes to everybody else’s photography studio, they dress him up, they make him up, they do his hair and that’s not him, so he wanted to see how he was. I think I introduced Iman to him and did their wedding picture and they’re naked. It’s beautiful and one of my favorites.“
The Chicago International Film Festival posters by Skrebneski’s became hot collectibles over the years. Founder Michael Kutza said,
“In 1966, I asked Victor to help make the Chicago Film Festival sexy. He ended up putting it on the map.”
Skrebneski said in 2014.
“I love it here. . .Chicago is an anchor for me.”
“We don’t have many celebrities in Chicago, not as many things to look at as in New York, just some very rich people who live very well and do it very quietly. Who needs all that fuss? I know that in some New York restaurants, it’s important for status to sit in the front room, but I like the back room, where you can look out and see all the people.”
Victor Skrebneski was 90.
(via Chicago Sun Times)