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Bert Stern: Original Mad Man

6/21/2013 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

In the unconventional documentary the original mad-man photographer reveals himself for the first time. Berts meteoric career began as a mailroom-boy at Look Magazine, where he formed a close relationship with a young staff photographer, Stanley Kubrick.

The launch of Sterns career and the Golden Age of Advertising would coincide; with Sterns Driest of the Dry campaign for Smirnoff. This ad would end up selling more vodka than Smirnoff dreamed, making America for the first time a vodka drinking country, and Stern a very successful photographer at the age of 25. Sought after by Madison Avenue, Hollywood, and the international fashion scene, Bert was at the heart of what George Lois would call the creative evolution.

“At Vogue I had signed a contract [that stipulated] I had a certain amount of pages where I could do whatever I wanted. I realized Marilyn Monroe had never been photographed for Vogue. I didn’t want to shoot fashion so they sent me to the accessories department and gave me a little suitcase with scarves and jewelry. I thought we’d adapt one of the large suites at the Bel-Air Hotel.”  Read more:

Along with Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, Stern minted the concept photographer as a star in his own right. Photographing what seemed like all of worlds most beautiful women like Jean Shrimpton, Suzie Parker, Audrey Hepburn, Bridget Bardot, Twiggy, Liz Taylor, and Marilyn Monroe, the kid from Brooklyn was living a dream. Marrying the beautiful and internationally acclaimed ballet dancer, Allegra Kent, a Balanchine protégé, it seemed Bert Stern could do no wrong. Stern pulls no punches in revealing himself, his loves, and his fall from grace.

Filmmaker Shannah Laumeister uncovers not only Stern, but also their unique long-term relationship.

Becoming Bert Stern is a story of self-creation: rise, fall and reinvention. It explores creativity, celebrity, and desire through the eyes of a man who got everything he wanted.



Bert Stern, one of the legendary figures in contemporary photography, personified the commercial photographer as cultural hero in the 1960s. Hugely  successful in the worlds of fashion  and advertising photography, in the late 1960s he operated a  studio, not unlike Andy Warhol’s Factory, from which he created countless award-winning ads, editorial features, magazine covers, films, and portraits. His name is firmly associated with the golden age of advertising, and many of his images are classics.

Via First Run Features Trailers | Official website |