Read an exclusive interview with Albert Watson
Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, Albert studied graphic design at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, and film and television at the Royal College of Art in London. Though blind in one eye since birth, Albert studied photography as part of his curriculum. In 1970, he moved to the United States with his wife, Elizabeth, who got a job as an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles, where Albert began shooting photos, mostly as a hobby. Later that year, Albert was introduced to an art director at Max Factor, who offered him his first session, from which the company bought two shots. Albert’s distinctive style eventually caught the attention of American and European fashion magazines such as Mademoiselle, GQ and Harper’s Bazaar, and he began commuting between Los Angeles and New York. In 1976, Albert landed his first job for Vogue, and his move to New York in the same year shifted his career into high gear. Despite the enormous stress from all of his commissioned assignments, Albert devotes much of his time to extensive personal projects, and he has published three books, “Cyclops” (1994) and “Maroc” (1998), and “Shot in Vegas” (2007). In addition, many catalogs of Albert’s photographs have been published in conjunction with museum and gallery shows around the world. The archives at his studio in Manhattan’s West Village are filled with millions of images and negatives, on which world-famous magazines and companies can be read.
At first glance Albert Watson’s landscapes, interiors and portraits take the viewer by surprise with their soft, filtered range of colors. But even in his new creations, Albert stays true to himself. The photographs create an aura that takes the viewer into the image but simultaneously demands a reverent distance. Albert’s visual language follows his own distinctive rules and concepts of quality. With their brilliance, urgency, even grandeur, his photographs stand out so clearly against the world of today’s images. His way of lighting subjects, especially the fetish objects and portraits, creates a nearly meditative atmosphere in the photographs. Albert Watson is an artist who greatly enriches our perception with his unique photographic view. Though the wide variety of his images reflects an effortless versatility, they are nevertheless identifiable as Albert Watson photographs by their sheer power and technical virtuosity whether it’s a portrait of a Las Vegas dominatrix or a close-up of King Tutankhamen’s glove. This single-minded commitment to perfection has made Albert one of the world’s most sought-after photographers.