Nickolas Muray, Environmental Portraiture, Vanity Fair
thesisposted on 08.06.2021, 12:32 by Corser Du Pont
This thesis is a case study of five environmental portraits made in Europe by New York studio photographer Nickolas Muray (1892-1965) for a 1926 commission by Vanity Fair magazine (1913-1936). The thesis, in the form of a sixty-three page illustrated essay, describes the circumstance of his photographic production, and the magazine's subsequent use of his photographs. Muray produced environmental portraits by photographing his assigned subjects in their workplaces, homes and gardens. He retouched, and then contact-printed the negatives; the prints he surrendered to Vanity Fair. The magazine cropped and otherwise manipulated the images in order to effectively place them in page layouts. From negatives, to prints, to offset-printed reprodutions, the photographic materials bear aesthetically significant images of environmental portraiture that testify to Muray's versatility, technical control, and creative vision.