104 – Sexy Sordid Focus With Author Michael Gross


Author Michael Gross

Author Michael Gross

Michael Gross (website) is the author of a number of books on the subject of elitist worlds, from billionaire condo buildings to model management. His new book is  Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers, and he is in the studio with American Fashion Podcast to talk about it.

Also in the studio, a guest host: fashion and beauty photographer Stephen Eastwood.

A Great Conversation

Discussion begins with Mr. Gorss expanding on how he came to write this book in the beginning, then turns to Mr. Eastwood’s comments on the transition from film to digital for fashion photography and into the social media space, which is where the book ends. An interesting conversation comes up about whether the golden age of fashion magazines will come back, with Gross and Eastwood on opposite sides of the argument. Are there any magazines that stand as an oasis in the corporate brand management approach to editing fashion? Where is the line between editorial and advertorial? Has it moved?

Gross talks about some of his favorite stories from the book, particularly regarding Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Alexy Brodovitch, and more. He also talks more about the AIDS crisis and the absolute darkness it brought down on the fashion industry’s leading creatives, when “every week there was a funeral.”

The recording includes some commentary on the passing of Bill Cunningham, who is not featured in the book.

Fashion Photography Tips

Stephen Eastwood give some advice on taking photos yourself, for designers who can’t afford a professional photographer yet. The group talks about interference from clients and editors on set, and the difference between people who get in the way with ignorant micromanagement and the people who come in with ideas. Michael Gross talks about his experience watching a massive advertising campaign being executed by a team of 30 technicians.