Category: Focus

Focus is “staggeringly impressive,” says Project Runway’s Tim Gunn on thethick.com

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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.

Focus: “astonishing and unprecedented” –Dailymail.com

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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!!

Focus is (finally) on sale

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Focus “uncovers a world of drama” and “the dirty secrets of fashion photographers,” says New York Mag

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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.”

Pat & Mike at B&N: Come join the fun

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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 crm19792@bn.com or ask a bookseller for more information. #focusyourselfie #focusthebook @BNBuzz #BNAuthorEvent

“Bombshell tell-all,” says Daily Mail

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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.

Focus is “shocking,” says Mail Online

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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)

“An often shocking tale,” says New York’s Daily News

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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!

RIP Bill Cunningham, 87

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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: “Delving into the private worlds of legends.” –Departures

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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.

Focus is “a juicy history of scandalous lives,” says Booklist

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“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.”

Focus is #1 in Fashion Photography

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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.

XXX Peekaboo out of Focus

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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.

Focus on fashion media, photography, editors and brands.  “Everything is changing.”

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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.

Focus on a super model

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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.

Introducing the Focus web pages

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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.

Focus a Hollywood Reporter “Hot Summer Must-Read”

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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).”

Focus is “relentless…sizzling…scandalous,” says Hamptons Magazine

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“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.

Prunella Darling is mesmerized by Focus

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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).”

Flashback: Model on Charlie Rose

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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.

Focus “serves hot dish,” says the New York Daily News

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“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!

Focus on Focus

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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.

FOCUS on Bert Stern

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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

“A sizzling, gossipy read,” says Hamptons Magazine

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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.”

Focus is “deep-diving…groundbreaking,” says DuJour Magazine

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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.

Focus is “mind-blowing,” says Barry Kieselstein-Cord

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“This is the best book on the real world of top photographers in the fashion industry ever,” says designer Barry Kieselstein-Cord. “Having hired and worked with many of them covered in Michael’s book I can tell you the back stories are mind blowing. Anyone remotely connected to fashion should read his book!”

Fashion Notes: #focusyourselfie

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Fashion is dead. Long live fashion. That’s not the news you’ll hear in this week’s relentless run-up to Vogue‘s annual promotional party at the Metropolitan Museum, but it’s the message of “Has Luxury Fashion Priced Itself Into Extinction?” my return-to-fashion-writing essay on The Daily Beast this morning. “The digital culture that’s killing fashion-as-we-know-it could, perversely, prove fashion’s salvation,” it argues. “Alongside the paid bloggers and pampered celebrities flogging $3,000 branded goods on Instagram are just plain folks taking selfies of themselves in outfits that reflect individual creativity, not the needs of vampire corporations sucking quarterly profits from purses and perfume … Continue reading

Library Journal on Focus: “Historically significant”

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In its new issue, Library Journal focuses on Focus. “Tales of famous shoots and industry backstories during the ‘glory days’ of the genre…of the sexual promiscuity and recreational drug use of these (mostly male) photographers,” writes Shauna Frischkorn (a Professor of Photography at Millersville University). “The subject matter will be historically significant to those who are concerned with the photo artist’s role in the golden age of modern fashion photography. VERDICT: Recommended for enthusiasts of fashion and fashion photography.”

Focus: “Sex, drugs, beautiful women, and raw ambition,” says Kirkus Reviews

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Often snarky and always first, Kirkus Reviews, the book review specialist, has published its view of Focus, and calls the book “a gossipy exposé … of the talented, arrogant, philandering, combative, self-aggrandizing photographers whose work appeared in, and defined, such iconic fashion magazines as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Glamour, and Elle from 1947 to 1997 … sometimes-tangy, often scurrilous … Not a pretty picture.” I guess they missed they parts about pretty pictures!

Kirkus on Focus: “Not a pretty picture of sex, drugs, beautiful women, and raw ambition”

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The first review of Focus calls the book “a gossipy exposé … of the talented, arrogant, philandering, combative, self-aggrandizing photographers whose work appeared in, and defined, such iconic fashion magazines as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Glamour, and Elle from 1947 to 1997 … sometimes-tangy, often scurrilous … Not a pretty picture of sex, drugs, beautiful women, and raw ambition.” –Kirkus Reviews, May 2016

Focus is “juicy…fast-paced…insider,” says Devil Wears Prada author Lauren Weisberger

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The Devil Wears Prada was a publishing, fashion and film phenomenon. Its author Lauren Weisberger is the latest early reader of Focus. “I loved reading all the juicy details that Michael uncovered in this fast-paced—and clearly insider—look at the rarefied, sexy world of fashion photography,” she says. Pre-order Focus here.

Focus is “compelling,” says Anthony Haden-Guest

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Author, journalist and cartoonist Anthony Haden-Guest is the latest early reader to offer an endorsement of Focus. He says, “Michael Gross takes us on a compelling journey through a hugely desirable culture – a culture which sometimes destroyed its most brilliant children and which is now slipping as irretrievably into the past as Versailles or the Swinging 60s.”

Focus: “Exposing photographers,” says New York Post’s Richard Johnson

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In today’s New York Post, gossip King Richard Johnson reveals a tid-bit from the opening pages of Focus, telling how King of the Selfies, photographer Terry Richardson, was dissed by the often naked pop princess Miley Cyrus. “The book, exposing photographers from Richard Avedon to Richardson, is out July 5th,” Johnson writes.

Focus is “equally delicious and deeply informative,” says Sheila Weller

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“Michael Gross‘s FOCUS is that rare thing: an equally delicious and deeply informative book, a news-breaking romp through the world of fashion photography, from its beginnings early in the last century to the recent controversial exploits of super bad boy Terry Richardson,” says Sheila Weller, the bestselling author of GIRLS LIKE US and THE NEWS SORORITY. “Richard Avedon, Bert Stern, Deborah Turbeville, Helmut Newton, Steven Meisel: these and so many others whose work I’ve enjoyed in VOGUE and BAZAAR are given context and smart analysis, and magazine editors and owners appear, too, revealing an industry of art and commerce. An … Continue reading

Focus is “Fabulous…amazing,” says columnist Liz Smith.

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Liz Smith devotes her entire column to an advance peek at Focus today. “It is a phantasmagoria of gossip, history, fabulous times, terrible times; the men (and a couple of women) who turned their creative lenses onto runways, clothes, models and (as in the case of Richard Avedon) onto America itself,” the columnist writes. “If you love fashion and/or the art of photography, this book is for you. But even if you couldn’t care less about the skirts swirled or the fabric bunched, or how Bert Stern or Irving Penn or David Bailey or Bruce Weber or Corinne Day or … Continue reading

Nino Cerruti lauds Focus

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Nino Cerruti, the renowned Italian fashion designer and red carpet favorite of Hollywood’s elite, is the latest early reader of Focus: The Sexy, Secret, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers. “Focus is the ‘House of Cards’ of fashion,” Cerruti says.

Tim Gunn on Focus: “Enthralling”

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Project Runway star and former Parsons School of Design chairman Tim Gunn says, “I thought I knew practically everything about the fashion industry, but Michael Gross has corrected me. His thoroughly absorbing narrative dazzles with the most profound investigation and research. Focus is an enthralling and riveting read!”