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Focus

The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers

“This thoroughly absorbing narrative dazzles with the most profound investigation and research. Focus is an enthralling and riveting read.” —Tim Gunn

“Smart, well-researched…engaging…canny” (New York Times Book Review), Focus is a “fast-paced—and clearly insider—look at the rarefied, sexy world of fashion photography” (Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada). New York Times bestselling author Michael Gross brings to life the wild genius, egos, passions, and antics of the men (and a few women) behind the camera, probing the lives, hang-ups, and artistic triumphs of more than a dozen of fashion photography’s greatest visionaries, including Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Bill King, Helmut Newton, Gilles Bensimon, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel, and Bob and Terry Richardson.

Tracing the highs and lows of fashion photography from the late 1940s to today, Focus takes you behind the scenes to reveal the revolutionary creative processes and fraught private passions of these visionary magicians, “delving deep into the fascinating rivalries” (The Daily News) between photographers, fashion editors, and publishers like Condé Nast and Hearst. Weaving together candid interviews, never-before-told insider anecdotes and insights born of his three decades of front-row and backstage reporting on modern fashion, Focus is “simply unrivaled…a sensation….Gross is a modern-day Vasari, giving us The Lives of the Artists in no small measure” (CraveOnline).

©David Bailey/Camera Eye Ltd.

Michael Gross is the author of the New York Times bestsellers House of Outrageous Fortune, 740 Park, and Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women, as well as Rogues’ Gallery, and Unreal Estate. A contributing editor of Departures, he created the blog Gripepad and has written for The New York Times, New York, Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, The Daily Beast/Newsweek, and many other publications.

Official hashtag: #focusyourselfie
Facebook: MichaelGrossAuthor
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Twitter: MGrossGripepad

“Does not skimp on the gossipy goods. There are descents into madness, prolific drug use, orgies, blackmail photos and suicide attempts…But this book…is also smart, well-researched and written with an insider’s eye…engaging and on point.”

– Kim France, The New York Times Book Review

"A delicious read. Sweeping...thoughtful..."

– The Daily Beast

"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."

– Larry McShane, The Daily News

"A juicy history of scandalous lives."

– Booklist

"A sizzling, gossipy read...Relentless reporting."

– Hamptons Magazine

"Deep-diving...groundbreaking."

– Dujour

"Focus finds the fire beneath the ice of glossy magazine pages, and does it without burning down the house.”

 

– Liz Smith, New York Social Diary

“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. 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.”

– Shauna Frischkorn, Library Journal

“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.”

– Kirkus Reviews

More books from this author: Michael Gross