A definitive voyage into the life and work of one of the greatest American photographers of all time. After working alongside Stanley Kubrick at Look Magazine, Stern became an original Madison Avenue "mad man," his images helping to create modern advertising. Groundbreaking photos of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy and the infamous Lolita image from Kubrick's film, coupled with his astonishing success in advertising, minted Stern - along with Irving Penn and Richard Avedon - as a celebrity in his own right; indeed, Stern's photographs of Monroe in her last sitting are considered to be the ultimate images of the 20th century icon. After marrying the stunning ballet dancer Allegra Kent, the kid from Brooklyn was sitting on top of the world...until a dramatic fall from grace. Filmmaker Shannah Laumeister uncovers Stern - from his bad boy antics (including a liaison with Monroe) to his iconic photography. Shockingly frank, it explores creativity, celebrity, and desire through the eyes of a man who got everything he wanted. Almost.
Bert Stern, also known for his seminal film Jazz on a Summer’s Day, experienced a meteoric career that began as a mailroom-boy at Look Magazine, where he formed a close relationship with young staff photographer Stanley Kubrick. The launch of Stern’s career and the Golden Age of Advertising would coincide with Stern’s iconic and legendary “Driest of the Dry” campaign for Smirnoff in 1955. Set against the backdrop of the Egyptian pyramids, this ad would sell more vodka than Smirnoff had dreamed, transforming America into a martini-sipping country and launching Stern to star photographer status at the age of 25. Sought after by Madison Avenue, Hollywood, and the international fashion scene, Bert was at the heart of what creative director George Lois called “the creative evolution.” His groundbreaking images of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy and the infamous Lolita image from Kubrick’s film, coupled with his astonishing success in advertising, minted Stern – along with Irving Penn and Richard Avedon – as a celebrity in his own right.
Bert Stern is perhaps best known for his photographs of the world’s most beautiful and intriguing women including Audrey Hepburn, Bridget Bardot, Twiggy, Elizabeth Taylor, Catherine Deneuve, Sophia Loren, Barbara Streisand, Scarlett Johansen, Lindsay Lohan, Kate Moss, and Marilyn Monroe. Indeed, Stern’s photographs of Monroe in her last sitting are considered to be the ultimate images of the 20th century icon. “Just a kid from Brooklyn,” he was living a dream, and after marrying the stunning ballet dancer, Allegra Kent, a Balanchine protégé, it seemed that Bert Stern was sitting on top of the world. But Stern pulls no punches in revealing himself, his loves, and his inner demons in this definitive exploration of his professional and personal life. Filmmaker Shannah Laumeister uncovers not only Stern but also their unique long term and intimate relationship, and his liaison with Marilyn Monroe. BERT STERN: ORIGINAL MAD MAN is a particularly American and sometimes shockingly frank story of self-creation, a fall from grace, and reinvention. It explores creativity, celebrity, and desire through the eyes of a man who got everything he wanted. Almost.