Albert Watson has made his mark as one of the world’s most successful and prolific photographers. Since he began his career in 1970, he has blended a unique style, fusing art, fashion and commercial photography into some of the most iconic images ever seen. From portraits of Alfred Hitchcock and Steve Jobs, beauty shots of Kate Moss, to Las Vegas landscapes and still-life photographs of King Tutankhamen artifacts, Albert’s diversity and body of work are unparalleled. The photography industry's bible, Photo District News, named Albert one of the 20 most influential photographers of all time, along with Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, among others.
Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, Albert studied graphic design at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, and film and television at the Royal College of Art in London. Though blind in one eye since birth, Albert studied photography as part of his curriculum. In 1970, he moved to the United States where Albert began shooting photos, mostly as a hobby. Later that year, Albert met an art director at Max Factor, who offered him his first test session. Albert’s distinctive style eventually caught the attention of American and European fashion magazines such as Mademoiselle, GQ, and Harper’s Bazaar, which booked him for a shoot with Alfred Hitchcock, the first celebrity Albert ever photographed. In 1976, Albert landed his first job for Vogue, and with his move to New York that same year, his career took off.
Over the years, Albert’s photographs have appeared on more than 100 covers of Vogue worldwide and have been featured in countless other publications, from Rolling Stone to Time to Harper’s Bazaar; many of the photos iconic fashion shots or portraits of rock stars, rappers, actors and other celebrities. Albert also has created the photography for hundreds of ad campaigns for major companies, such as Prada, the Gap, Levi’s, Revlon and Chanel. He has shot dozens of Hollywood movie posters, such as “Kill Bill” and “Memoirs of a Geisha,” and has also directed more than 100 television commercials.
All the while, Albert has spent much of his time working on art projects for museum and gallery exhibitions, which feature his well-known portraits and fashion photographs, along with powerful shots from his travels and interests, such as a snake charmer in Morocco, a dominatrix in Las Vegas or the dramatic mountains on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.
Since 2004, Albert has had solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art and the Forma Galleri in Milan, Italy; the KunstHausWien in Vienna, Austria; the City Art Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland; the FotoMuseum in Antwerp, Belgium; the NRW Forum in Dusseldorf, Germany; Fotografiska in Stockholm, Sweden; and the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow, Russia. In 2013, a major retrospective, with a new body of work Albert shot in Benin, Africa, was held at the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Germany.
His immense career has won him numerous honors, including a Lucie Award, a Grammy Award, three Andys, a Der Steiger Award, a Hasselblad Masters Award; and the Centenary Medal, a lifetime achievement award from the Royal Photographic Society. Queen Elizabeth II awarded the Scotsman an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in June 2015 for his lifetime contribution to the art of photography.
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