Born in 1942, Albert Watson is renowned for his art, celebrity and fashion photography. His work has been displayed in museums and galleries around the world. He has photographed for more than two hundred Vogue covers and forty Rolling Stone magazine covers, as of mid-70s. Along with Irving Penn, Richard Avedon and others, Watson was given a rank among the twenty most influential photographers by Photo District News. Watson also won several honors, such as Grammy Award, Lucie Award, ANDY Award (thrice), and the Hasselbald Masters Award. He was also given Honorary Fellowship and Centenary Medal from the Royal Photographic Society.
Watson was born in Scotland’s capital Edinburgh. He studied in Rudolf Steiner School and Lasswade High School. Following this, he went to Duncan of Jordonstone College of Art & Design to study graphic design and London’s Royal College of Art to learn about television and film. Photography was a part of Watson’s curriculum.
He moved to America in 1970 with Elizabeth, his wife who got a teaching job in Los Angeles and Watson began taking pictures as a hobby usually. The same year, Max Factor‘s art director gave Albert Watson the opportunity to shoot for them and among the photos he took, the company bought two photographs.
His unique style acquired him the attention of European and American fashion publications, such as Harper’s Bazaar, Mademoiselle, GQ, and many more.
In 1973, he started taking photographs of celebrities. For the Christmas copy of Harper’s Bazaar, Watson took Alfred Hitchcock‘s portrait. This photo became his best and most popular photograph on a list of iconic photographs which includes rock stars, supermodels, rappers, film stars, and even Queen Elizabeth II and President Bill Clinton.
Apart from photographing for the world’s most fashionable magazines, Albert Watson produced images for numerous triumphant commercial campaigns for major companies, like Levi’s, Gap, Chanel, Revlon, and more. In addition to this, Watson has been the director of over 500 television commercials and has photographed for countless posters for many top movies of Hollywood, including The Da Vinci Code, Kill Bill, and Memoirs of a Geisha.
Meanwhile all these ventures, Watson also concentrated on his personal work of photographing subjects of his interests and from his traveling experiences in Las Vegas, Marrakech, Orkney Islands, and etc.
From 2004, he has had many unaccompanied exhibitions including at Milan’s Museum of Modern Art, Austria’s Kunst Haus Wien, Belgium’s FotoMuseum, Germany’s NRW Forum, Edinburgh’s City Art Centre. His photos have also been shown at several group exhibitions at London’s National Portrait Gallery, Moscow’s Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Hamburg’s Deichtorhallen, New York’s International Center of Photography. Photos by Watson are in the possessions of the National Portrait Gallery as well as of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In 2007, a large format photographic print of Kate Moss which was taken back in 1993, was sold for $108,000 at London’s Christie’s.
The talented photographer has also published many books, like Maroc, 1998; Albert Watson, 2007; Cyclops, 1994; and etc. Two of his books UFO: Unified Fashion Objectives; and Strip Search were published in 2010.
Watson’s images are not only visually effective but also disseminate the fact that the photographer has a great sense of knowledge about technicalities. Just like any other photographer, Albert Watson also has a distinct style of photography that helped him emerge as a unique person in his field.