Steven Meisel (born 1954) is an American photographer, who obtained popular acclaim with his work in US and Italian Vogue and his photographs of friend Madonna in the latter's 1992 book Sex designed by Fabien Baron. He is now considered one of the most successful fashion photographers in the industry, shooting regularly for both US and Italian Vogue and lately W.
I thought it would be interesting to show some of his recent work, which is gorgeous, and some other art historical references with excessive pattern clashes that relates to that. Being an informed artist, Meisel was certainly knowledgeable of the work of painters Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele of the Austrian Secessionist movement at the turn of the 20th century. These painters, especially Klimt, explored fully this notion of the human figure entwined with and melting into the immediate surroundings. Schiele was knowledgeable of the older, more respected Klimt—and certain pieces of his work reflect that. Schiele’s life was tragic—persecuted by the law for “pornographic” drawings, he died at the young age of 28—a victim of the Spanish flu epidemic of Europe that took 20 million lives in 1918.
Certainly, Meisel knew of the incredible work of Verushka, basically the world’s first supermodel, and her camoflauge series, where she would use body paint to become (or blend into) wood, rocks or the landscape.
The 19th century Japanese woodcuts, though more obscure—explore similar graphic devices of patterning.