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Photographer Bert Stern passes away

Photographer Bert Stern passes away

THE photographer Bert Stern has passed away in the United States. He was 83.

In a career that spanned 50 years, Mr. Stern photographed many celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn and Truman Capote. But he will be particularly remembered for his photographs of Marilyn Monroe which were taken six weeks before the actress died from a drug overdose in 1962.

In what has become known as The Last Sitting, Mr. Stern spent three days photographing the star at the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles for Vogue magazine. During the session he took more than 2,500 pictures. 

He went on to use images from the sitting as material for two books. The first, The Last Sitting, was published in 1982. The second book, Marilyn Monroe: The Complete Last Sitting, came out in 2000.

In 2008, 36 photographs taken during The Last Sitting sold for $150,000 at an auction in New York.

As well as his work with celebrities, Mr. Stern was also highly regarded in the field of advertising where his images were used in many campaigns. He was regarded as being one of the small number of photographers who had transformed commercial photographs into conceptual art.

His first foray into advertising involved a shoot for Smirnoff Vodka for which he produced an image taken in front of pyramid in Egypt (follow link below).

Among the many tributes was one from the director of George Eastman House, the museum of photography and film in Rochester, New York.  Bruce Barnes said: “Bert Stern was an enormously innovative photographer, both as a commercial photographer and a photographer of celebrities and fashion models. He was one of the great people in his field”.

To view an excerpt from an interview with Bert Stern, click here.

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