In 2009, The Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted the Costume Institute’s Model as Muse; an entire exhibition dedicated to the model’s role as muse to the fashion industry and particularly, the fashion photographer.
In many of these instances however, the model serves as more than just inspiration to the photographer as she becomes both his muse and lover. While most industries don't promote office romances, fearing that only the worst can come of them, it would seem that romances between photographers and models are almost encouraged as they often result in spectacular imagery.
It may seem like a clichéd scenario but the photographer/model couple has been a recurring theme throughout the history of fashion and we have identified just 10 of them. Click through for 10 of the probably dozens of photographer-model relationships throughout history.
Man Ray and Lee Miller
A proponent of the Surrealist and Dada movements, Man Ray would build a prolific body of work as an artist and photographer, photographing model and rumored lover Lee Miller whose eyes and lips often made appearances in his surrealist works. The couple met in 1929, after Man Ray ended his relationship with Alice Ernestine Prin, better known as Kiki de Montparnasse, and continued to date Miller until 1932. After their romance, Miller relocated from Paris to NYC and would go on to become a successful Vogue photographer and wartime correspondent. In 2012, the Legion of Honor hosted the exhibition, Man Ray And Lee Miller: Partners In Surrealism showcasing the couple’s joint work.
Richard Avedon and Doe Avedon
Richard and Doe Avedon’s relationship did not follow the standard model-as-muse-then-lover formula. Soon after the couple’s 1944 marriage, Doe subsequently became an actress and model. The couple’s relationship was loosely portrayed in Funny Face, in which photographer Dick Avery (Dick Avedon) meets Joe Stockton (Doe Avedon) and turns the bookish beatnik into a supermodel. However, the onscreen fairy tale ending in Funny Face was not reflected in the real-life romance. In 1949, Doe divorced her husband to marry actor Dan Mathews.
Norman Parkinson and Wenda
Members of high society and the aristocracy were often the focus of Norman Parkinson's photographs; he liked subjects that exuded a regal, refined aura. In 1947, Parkinson married his third and final wife, actress and model Wenda Rogerson who epitomized midcentury glamour. The marriage resulted in a model-photographer relationship that would continue throughout the duration of both their lives and contribute to some of the most recognized images of Parkinson’s career.
Irving Penn and Lisa Fonssagrives
Perhaps one of the most well known photographer and model relationships of all time, Irving Penn met model Lisa Fonssagrives on set in 1947. The postwar supermodel was nearing the end of an unsuccessful marriage to dancer-photographer Fernand Fonssagrives and soon after married Penn in 1950. Penn’s sharp and controlled photographic style highlighted Fonssagrives’s impeccably pristine features and the pair would continue to work together and produce some of the most impactful imagery of the century.
David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton
English photographer David Bailey’s images epitomized the youthquake of the swinging 60s while model Jean Shrimpton was the embodiment of leggy, youthful model of the era. Nicknamed “the shrimp,” Shrimpton met Bailey when she was 18 in 1960; the photographer was married at the time. Bailey divorced his first wife Rosemary Bramble in 1963 for Shrimpton and the couple quickly entered into an engagement. However, the engagement did not stick and the two would go their separate ways, Bailey would go on to marry actress Catherine Deneuve.
David Bailey and Penelope Tree
In addition to Jean Shrimpton, Bailey would become intimate with several models throughout his career as a photographer, including Penelope Tree. Tree represented society’s disregard of the classic and conventional with her otherworldly, alien-like appearance. The couple’s seven-year relationship began in 1967 despite the fact that the photographer was still married to Catherine Deneuve, who he would later divorce in 1972. Three years later, Bailey would enter into a marriage with Japanese supermodel Marie Helvin, which lasted until 1982. The photographer is currently married to model Catherine Dyer, whom he wed in 1986.
William Claxton and Peggy Moffitt
Although more celebrity than fashion photographer, William Claxton would photograph his wife and model Peggy Moffitt, disseminating images that promoted the “Moffit Look” which was characterized by a Vidal Sassoon haircut, exaggerated Kabuki-like eye makeup and mod ensembles by Rudi Gernrich. Claxton married Moffitt in 1959 and the couple remained an item until his death in 2008. Together, the duo would create some of the most well known images of the 60s.
Franco Rubartelli and Veruschka
A ubiquitous fixture in fashion editorials of the 60s and 70s, German countess and supermodel Veruschka is known for her towering stature, border-line lanky figure, and thick, almost unidentifiable accent. Many of Veruschka’s well known images were taken by her then boyfriend photographer/director Franco Rubartelli who would also direct her in the film, Veruschka: Poetry of a Woman in 1971. The couple met in 1963 and shared a penthouse in Rome in 1967 before splitting up in the early 70s.
Mario Sorrenti and Kate Moss
Mario Sorrenti first received praise as a fashion photographer after lensing then girlfriend and budding model Kate Moss for Calvin Klein’s Obsession fragrance campaign in 1993. The couple reportedly met at a party and dated in the early 90s before Moss began her four-year relationship with Johnny Depp.
Gilles Bensimon and Elle Macpherson
Gilles Bensimon began his career at French Elle and was ultimately brought on to establish an American edition of the glossy in September of 1985. Gilles Bensimon fittingly met Australian model Elle Macpherson on an Elle shoot in 1984 and the couple was married two years later. During their short-lived marriage, Bensimon photographed his wife and model for several Elle editorials before their divorce in 1989.