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Bruce Weber

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Bruce Weber Biography

born Greensburg, PA (USA) 1946

Bruce Weber, born March 29, 1946 is a well-known gay photographer and occasional filmmaker. He first came to the attention of the general public by shooting late 1980s and early 1990s iconographic ad images for omnisexual fashion company Calvin Klein. His straightforward black and white shots, featuring an unclothed heterosexual couple on a swing - facing each other, two clothed guys in bed, and model Marcus Schenkenberg barely holding jeans in front of himself in a shower while an accompanying unrelated shot of concert fans presented a lurid dichotomy, catapulted him into the national spotlight.

After doing photo shoots for and of famous individuals (many of which were featured in Andy Warhol's Interview magazine), Bruce entered into the realm of filmmaking, making shorts of teenage boxers, his beloved pet dogs and later, a longer film entitled Chop Suey Club. The film, an appropiately-titled documentary, was a mix of subjects which encompassed many items on his radar. Filmed in black and white, his gentle voiceover introduced us to an eclectic mix of jazz singers, explorers and a model he was currently shooting, a young man (married and a teacher today) named Peter.

His photographs are occasionally in color, however most are in black and white or toned shades. They are gathered in limited edition print books, including but not limited to A House is Not a Home and Bear Pond, an early work which featured, among other models, Eric Nies from the MTV's The Real World series (as well as Eric's brother).

Bruce Weber (though not the first - the ancient Greeks, George Platt Lynes and many others) brought the image of chiseled male beauty more so into the public spotlight. He currently is working, along with another art director, for the catalog aspect of Abercrombie & Fitch's clothing company. Both the "old" and newer versions of their quarterly are primarily his work. This venue provides a less-expensive way for fans to view some of his prints.

Weber is credited for launching the modeling career of Isabella Rossellini.

In 1988, Weber was approached by British pop duo Pet Shop Boys, who were in New York City to work with Liza Minnelli for her album Results. The Pet Shop Boys were interested in Weber doing a video for their own forthcoming single, Domino Dancing, from their album Introspective. Weber was interested, but too busy with his current film, a documentary about Chet Baker, to accept.

Two years would pass before an opportunity for such a collaboration would present itself. By 1990, Pet Shop Boys had another album, Behaviour, and were releasing a song called "Being Boring" as a single. Weber took the project and directed a video, which would be both acclaimed and controversial. Weber's idea was to film a wild party with a very diverse group of people. Filmed in one day by two film crews in a house on Long Island, it was the most expensive Pet Shop Boys video at the time, costing roughly $225,000. Though there was no sexual content, a brief glimpse of male buttocks at the beginning was enough to prevent the video from being played on MTV in America.

However, the Pet Shop Boys enjoyed the video immensely and worked with Weber again in 1996, this time for a video for "Se a vida ?", a song from their latin-influenced album Bilingual. This project was shot at Wet "n" Wild, a water park in Orlando, Florida.

Another six years later, in 2002 Weber again directed a Pet Shop Boys video, for the song "I Get Along" from the album Release. Weber's concept was to film one of his photo shoots on location at his own Little Bear studio in New York City. The video has a documentary feel, showing the models (as well as the Pet Shop Boys themselves, who are present) eating lunch and getting ready before the shoot. The DVD version of the video includes a short afterward featuring the song "E-mail", which was also Weber's idea.

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  • Nick, Adirondack Park, New York, 2001
  • Grant Drowning In Wheat, Prince Edward Island, 2005
  • Chris and Ty, San Onofre Beach, California, 1998
  • Adirondack Park, New York, 2002
  • Lisa Marie, Palm Beach, Fl., 1986

Quotes

Publications

  • Home Is Where The Heart Is (Fotografie: Portfolio) - by Bruce Weber, Stern Gruner + Jahr AG & Co.; Bilingual edition (February 2005)

Quick Facts

  • Bruce Weber is an American photographer and occasional filmmaker. He is most widely known for his ad campaigns for Calvin Klein, Abercrombie & Fitch and Ralph Lauren.
  • He first came to the attention of the general public by shooting late 1980s and early 1990s iconographic ad images for omnisexual fashion company Calvin Klein.
  • Weber's photographs are occasionally in color, however most are in black and white or toned shades.
  • Weber was approached by British pop duo Pet Shop Boys, who were in New York City to work with Liza Minnelli for her album Results.
  • By 1990, Pet Shop Boys had a new album, Behaviour, and were releasing "Being Boring" as a single. Weber took the project and directed a video, which would be both acclaimed and controversial. Weber's idea was to film a wild party with a very diverse group of people. Filmed in one day by two film crews in a house on Long Island, it was the most expensive Pet Shop Boys video at the time, costing roughly $225,000. Though there was no sexual content, a brief glimpse of male buttocks at the beginning was enough to prevent the video from being played on MTV in the USA.

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