American Fashion Podcast, “for the true fashion nerd,” focuses on Focus in its latest edition. Listen to it here.
American Fashion Podcast, “for the true fashion nerd,” focuses on Focus in its latest edition. Listen to it here.
The Today Show focused on Focus yesterday. Or rather, The Today Show in Australia. An author “exposing” fashion’s excesses is not entirely without honor on morning television!
The Daily Beast just published my meditation on Melania Trump, alleged former supermodel, and Donald J. Trump, her model-agency-owning presidential-wannabe squeeze.
Calling Melania Trump! The Slovenian former model (pictured on an old GQ cover) could be the key to unlocking what’s said in this story about Focus from Slovene Novice. Referring to a Helmut Newton photo session starring former model (and current Mrs. Rupert Murdoch) Jerry Hall, the headline reads, “He ordered her to lick his boots.”
On Wednesday July 20th, I’ll be speaking al fresco about Focus and the fabulous characters in it at The Bryant Park Reading Room in the heart of Manhattan from 12:30pm-1:30pm, in conversation with Alina Cho, the noted broadcast journalist, fashion commentator, and Editor-at-Large of Ballantine Bantam Dell. I’ll be signing books, too, after our talk. In case of rain, events are held under a tent at the Reading Room. In case of severe weather, please check bryantpark.org for the indoor location.
Fashion photography web site Thebreed.com looks at the “provocative” Focus today. “It covers the lives of fashion photography’s masters,” Elyssa Goodman writes, “detailing their creative spirit and technical skill alongside their egos and vices. It shares the stories of the men and women behind the legends, what made them, what broke them, and why we must remember them today.”
Last night, a standing-room-only crowd filled Barnes & Noble’s Upper West Side store at 82nd Street and Broadway for a talk and book signing with (from left), supermodel-turned-memoirist Pat Cleveland, me, and photographer-turned Musee magazine editor Andrea Blanch. Thanks B&N and all who attended, including fans, friends, designer Stephen Burrows, models Alva Chinn, Bonnie Pfeifer and Nancy Donahue, and photographer-and-hair God Harry King. For those who missed it, more signed copies of Pat’s Walking with the Muses and Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers are available in the store. #BNUpperWestSide @BNUpperWS #focuysyourselfie (The photo is by … Continue reading
Echoing one of the themes of Focus–that an era has ended–photo editor and photographer Nick Knight has given an interview in which he goes a step further and declares photography dead. Then Knight, whose web site describes him as “among the world’s most influential and visionary photographers,” goes on, positing that photography has been usurped by what he calls “image-making — please could someone get a better description of it — because that’s what I do,” he says. “Because that can take in sound and movement and 3D, which I think are really part of this new art form. So … Continue reading
“Focus is a cultural history of how photography shaped the rest of the fashion industry,” writes Anna Fitzpatrick in her review of Focus in today’s National Post of Canada. “It is also a salacious collection of stories, a fact it never tries to hide. Above all, Focus is a survey of men behaving badly…Gross captures so well the century-long rivalry between Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, chronicling the musical chairs of editorial staff and their shifting allegiances with photographers. But the most prominent women in the book are the muses….To his credit, [Gross] does make a concerted effort to include the … Continue reading
Former Richard Avedon assistant and Vogue photographer Andrea Blanch interviewed me last week for her Musee Magazine. We spoke about the rise and fall of fashion photography, the chance it will rise again, the reign of Anna Wintour, the wonder that’s Franca Sozzani, our transgender moment, and lots lots more in a wide-ranging conversation.
“Almost alone among writers who chronicle the rich and glittering in New York,[Michael Gross] doesn’t write books that endear him to his subjects,” writes Jesse Kornbluth on Headbutler today. “Does he get asked to chic dinners at the homes of the 1%? I’m thinking it rarely happens. I’m thinking he doesn’t care….Now, we have Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers…Many of the photographers he profiles are dead. If not, they might die of embarrassment — or would, if they could assess their behavior in a context that resembles life as you and I experience it….Focus is … Continue reading
A reminder that I’ll be signing copies of Focus and dissecting the fashion circus with my longtime friend supermodel Pat Cleveland this coming Wednesday July 13th at a talk moderated by former Vogue photographer Andrea Blanch, the founder and editor-in-chief of Musée Magazine. Please join us at 7PM that night at the Barnes & Noble at Broadway and West 82nd Street. Special Instructions: Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Books can be picked up after signing. If you have questions or concerns, email email@example.com or ask a bookseller for more information. #focusyourselfie #focusthebook @BNBuzz … Continue reading
In the latest issue of Beach, Daniel Hirsch of Southampton Books names Focus a “best beach read” of the summer, calling it “an illuminating history of the men and women behind some of fashion’s most iconic images.”
When it comes to votes, this one is pretty wild. The commentors vie to name the supermodel at the Bill King-directed orgy on blindgossip.com.
On today’s New York Social Diary, David Patrick Columbia covers the launch party for Focus (scroll down to the last long item here), the book itself, and the world it reveals. “Wine, women and song,” Columbia writes. “Boys too, if required. Not to mention drugs. Cool dudes, flashy cars, psycho-tempers, and sex everywhere to choose from. Work junkets all over the world and surrounded by beautiful people looking up at them rather than vice versa. The photographers were the real story.”
In Musée Magazine, Tal Yaron reviews Focus as “a behind-the-scenes view of fashion photography’s apex. Gross shows us the humanity or lack there-of in all these real life figures that he chooses to represent as the epitome of the art at its peak. Focus provides fascinating insight into the lives of these fashion icons [and] shows us the freedom, individuality, self-expression and experimentation in an industry that has long since lost those values, chasing money now instead of dreams…An exciting read, full of anecdotes and whispers of a fashion era long gone, a must for photography enthusiasts, magazine historians, fashionistas, … Continue reading
In the latest episode of the “Possible Conversation” series on thethick.com, Project Runway’s fashion eminence Tim Gunn and I dish on Focus, the fashion industry, and its fear of truth. Focus, says Gunn, is “captivating…electrifying…just riveting….a staggeringly impressive job.” A thousand thanks to Tim and all at thethick.
The Daily Mail has just published a lavishly illustrated look into the pages of the just-published Focus. “In an astonishing and unprecedented look at the top-tier of photographers, Gross exposes the egos and private passions of these manipulative artists.” Focus is “compelling and often shocking,” says the Mail’s Caroline Howe. Thank you!!
New York Magazine’s The Cut considers Focus today. Danielle Cohen writes, “Laying bare friendships, breakups, rivalries, and liaisons among fashion photographers over the past six decades, Focus delves into the stories behind their cameras, exposing both their unparalleled talents and private affairs.”
I’ll be signing copies of Focus and dissecting the fashion circus with my longtime friend supermodel Pat Cleveland on July 13th at a talk moderated by former Vogue photographer Andrea Blanch, the founder and editor-in-chief of Musee Magazine. Please join us at 7PM that night at the Barnes & Noble at Broadway and West 82nd Street. Special Instructions: Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Books can be picked up after signing. If you have questions or concerns, email firstname.lastname@example.org or ask a bookseller for more information. #focusyourselfie #focusthebook @BNBuzz #BNAuthorEvent
Yesterday, the Daily Mail revealed that controversial photographer Terry Richardson had posted a photograph on Instagram of himself with his twin infant sons on the same day the New York Post published its exclusive excerpt from Focus about his own troubled childhood. The Mail suggests the image shows Richardson is “quite unfazed by reports” of the “bombshell tell-all book,” which also reports how Richardson hired a reputational damage-control PR firm after tales of his “pressuring models into sex and being otherwise sexually inappropriate” emerged in recent years. Read all about in Focus, out next Tuesday.
MailOnline picked up the New York Post’s exclusive excerpt from Focus about the provovative photographer Terry Richardson “bizarre” childhood, his father, the late photographic great Bob Richardson, and his longtime muse and girlfriend Anjelica Huston. Bob and Anjelica both gave exclusive interviews that appear in Focus. (The image is a screen grab from the blog Jezebel)
I remember working beside Bill Cunningham in this piece for Time Magazine’s Lightbox. (My snapshot of Bill was taken circa 1992)
Today’s New York Post takes readers “Inside the twisted, sexed-up childhood of Terry Richardson” in an exclusive first look inside the pages of Focus. It tells some of the story of Terry Richardson‘s late dad, Bob, and one of fashion photography’s greatest and most messed-up practitioners. Mail Online picked up the Post story and adds even more of the sometimes sordid details from Focus. You can read the rest on July 5th.
FASHION PHOTOGS DIRTY SECRETS the front page of today’s Daily News announces in a story on Focus. “Don’t expect model behavior from fashion photographers,” writes Larry McShane. “Author Michael Gross, in a new tell-all book out July 5, dishes the dirt on the shooters rather than their subjects in an often-shocking tale rife with bed-hopping hotties, rampant drug use and cut-throat antics. Gross knows his stuff, delving deep into the fascinating rivalries and wicked manipulations that take place behind the cameras wielded by the greats like Richard Avedon, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel and Mario Testino.” Thanks, Daily News!
Though not one of the characters in Focus–his street photography was sui generis–Bill Cunningham was one of the great photographers working in the fashion milieu. He died today after suffering a stroke. We worked together at the New York Times, and I always tried to follow his advice. ”Give ‘em hell, child,” he’d always tell me. ”Keep it up.” I will, Bill.
Focus is “the kind of deep dive we’ve come to expect…” from “Michael Gross…master chronicler of behind-closed-doors lives…delving into the private worlds of legends including Richard Avedon, Bert Stern, Bruce Weber, and latter-day provocateur Terry Richardson,” writes Departures magazine in its new issue.
“Anyone interested in fashion and/or photography will find Gross’ full immersion fascinating,” says The American Library Association’s Booklist in its review of Focus. Reviewer Sarah Grant highlights the book’s look at “the industry’s transformations” and its “dish on the enormous egos, volatile relationships with models and editors, and [the] emotional turbulence that seems to be nearly ubiquitous among the industry’s professionals.”
Following last night’s launch party, Focus hit the top of the Amazon bestseller list of fashion photography books, even though it won’t be published until July 5th. It’s also #2 on the list of books on models and #13 on the list of books on fashion. Please pre-order now from your favorite online bookseller.
Today’s Page Six features a tid-bit from Focus about a poster-girl Seventies supermodel and her secret XXX-rated antics. Who got photographed in flagrante delicto? See if you can figure it out when Focus comes out in a dozen days.
I spoke to Alexandra Steigrad of WWD the other day about Focus, and some of the industry heavyweights, like Anna Wintour, whose stories I tell in the book. You can read the interview here. UPDATE Fashionista picked up the WWD interview.
Pat Cleveland takes a star turn in today’s Styles section of the New York Times and writer Guy Trebay lets this former Times Styles writer have the last word.
The Focus web site has begun to roll out. Links to pages and videos on the photographers featured in the book, source notes for the text and a list of author appearances have now been published. Bonus material is soon to come. Please take look.
In addition to the hardcover and e-book editions, Focus will be released as my first audiobook since Model on July 5th. You can hear a sample–about a very public confrontation between the great photographer Richard Avedon and Vogue editor Anna Wintour–and pre-order by clicking here.
In its new issue, The Hollywood Reporter’s Andy Lewis names Focus one of its dozen best summer 2016 beach books, calling it “a gossipy peek behind the curtain at the world of fashion photography from the 1940s to the present. Gross (740 Park) knows how to drop names and has any eye for salacious stories about rivalries (Harper’s versus Vogue), secret love affairs (Irving Penn and Jean Patchett) and hidden pasts (Richard Avedon).”
“Before Instagram was king, fashion photographers ruled,” writes R. Couri Hay in this piece (with a photo by Rick Wenner) just posted on the Hamptons blog. “Michael Gross’s new book, Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers, strips their universe down to its underpinnings. Through relentless reporting, Gross lays bare the lives of Richard Avedon, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel, Terry Richardson, Irving Penn, Bert Stern, David Bailey, Bill King, Gilles Bensimon, and other visionaries who shaped what we have seen in magazines and advertising from the 1940s to today.
Fashion blogger Prunella Darling (aka Ann Kasper) just posted about Focus. She writes that it is “another page turner [added] to the stack…740 Park, Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women, Rogues’ Gallery, House of Outrageous Fortune and Unreal Estate – all books that keep the reader mesmerized (the famous who are in the books and the rest of us who just love all things fabulous).”
Model Lauren Hutton plays a vital role in Focus, which tells why her early champion Richard Avedon banished her from his studio, and how she represented a crucial turning point on his path away from fashion photography. You’ll have to wait ’til July 5th to read that. But in 1995, when I published Model, she and I appeared together on Charlie Rose‘s PBS show. Here’s a little Hutton (and a certain ink-stained wretch) to tide us over the wait for Focus.
I revisit 740 Park, the subject of my 2005 book, in “Fire, Floods, Theft: The Plagues of 740″, in today’s New York Post. All the story is missing is locusts. See if you can ID the frog in the lily pond. UPDATE: Mail Online picked up the story too.
“The author always serves hot dish in books like Model and House of Outrageous Fortune,” Sherryl Connelly writes in the Daily News. “He now reveals the process (wink, nudge) of elite fashion photogs from Richard Avedon to Steven Meisel. Of course, big name models are dragged in, too.” Thanks Sherryl!
The first-bound copies of Focus arrived yesterday, hot off the press and still smelling of ink. Here’s mine, posed in front of the first fashion photo I ever acquired, Norman Parkinson’s 1939 image of Pamela Minton leaping off a dune on England’s Isle of Wight. You can pre-order Focus online now for delivery July 5th, or better yet, ask for it at your local bricks-and-mortar bookstore.
Bert Stern died in 2013 just as I was starting work on Focus, in which he plays a leading role as the one of the most significant fashion photographers of the 1960s. By the time of his death, forty years after a drug-induced nervous breakdown that ended his decade-long run at Vogue, Stern’s fashion work had been mostly forgotten, overwhelmed by the notoriety of his famous “last sitting” with Marilyn Monroe. Since his death, Stern’s widow and heir, Shannah Laumeister, and his children by his first wife, the prima ballerina Allegra Kent, have been fighting over his estate in New … Continue reading
R. Couri Hay offers a sneak peek at Focus in the Memorial Day issue of Hamptons magazine. “Relentless reporting,” Hay writes, “lays bare the lives of Richard Avedon, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel, Terry Richardson, Irving Penn, Bert Stern, David Bailey, Bill King, Gilles Bensimon and other visionaries…” Focus “strips their universe down to its underpinnings.” UPDATE: Focus is also featured in this month’s issues of Avenue at the Beach and The Daily Summer, which calls it a “don’t miss…must-read.”
After a devastating fire a few weeks ago, the world’s richest apartment building, 740 Park, is now being cloaked in 184 linear feet of sidewalk shed. Why? A source with detailed knowledge of the 1929 building’s woes says that after chunks of limestone fell from its facade last July, causing the FDNY to rush there, it was determined that some of the metal brackets that hold the massive stone blocks in place “are rusting, and as it rusts, it swells and pops the limestone, causing pieces to fall.” The source adds, “They have to do probes on the limestone [and] … Continue reading
The House of Outrageous Fortune, Fifteen Central Park West, has once again climbed to the top of the New York apartment house heap according to a semiannual report from City Realty with average resales of over $6,000 per square foot, $1,000 more than newer, taller competing properties like One57 and 432 Park–and that despite a 4.7 percent decline in its performance. Fifteen’s staying power is all the more remarkable given the fact that many of the other buildings in the top ten are newer properties. Indicating, perhaps, that the smart money knows newer and taller isn’t necessarily better. Limestone Jesus … Continue reading
In its new issue, out this week, DuJour calls Focus “a deep-diving exposé into the world of iconic fashion photographers…groundbreaking.” I’ll post a link to the story by David Foxley as soon as it’s available.
Today’s New York Times gives presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump the business over how he treats women in business. Readers of Gripepad may recall its repeated references to that subject back in March, plumbing quotes he gave for My Generation, a generational biography just re-released as an e-book. For instance: After he graduated from Wharton, Manhattan was Donald Trump’s post-graduate school. He majored in making money, but minored in sex, taking full advantage of the times and the extraordinary opportunities they offered to indulge in consequence-free promiscuity, “my second business,” Trump recalled. “If I hadn’t got married, who knows … Continue reading
WWD’s story today on Nordstrom’s announcement of a steep drop in quarterly earnings buries a bombshell about the department store chain’s future Manhattan flagship in the final paragraph. Though the building thast will house it, Extell’s latest West 57th Street supertall, is already under construction, a statement from the store is ominous: “Plans for our Manhattan full-line store, which we expect to open in 2019, ultimately include owning a condominium interest in a mixed-use tower and leasing certain nearby properties. As of Jan. 30, we had approximately $176 million of fee interest in land, which is expected to convert to … Continue reading
Today’s New York Times highlights one reason why Manhattan’s high-end condo market is collapsing, as Extell founder Gary Barnett admitted yesterday. James B. Stewart writes that investments in hedge funds, the financial high fliers that funded much of the condo boom, are dropping as dramatically as construction cranes. Stewart quotes Daniel Loeb, founder of the Third Point hedge fund and owner of one of the largest penthouses at uber-condo Fifteen Central Park West (shown with his wife Margaret Munzer Loeb on the front of one of their elaborate Christmas cards): “There is no doubt that we are in the first … Continue reading