Bert Stern (American, 1929–2013) was considered to be one of the most important photographers of fashion and celebrities. Working as a messenger and mail clerk at Look magazine in 1947, Stern studied art books at the library, and visited the Museum of Modern Art. When he was drafted during the Korean War, Stern photographed the troops'' ships heading to Japan. Upon his return to the United States, Stern explored advertising photography, and achieved success with his work for Smirnoff Vodka, including one of his most famous images: A Giza pyramid reflected upside down in a martini glass.
Stern went on to photograph for Vogue, and married dancer Allegra Kent. However, his heavy use of amphetamines led to the end of his marriage to Kent in the 1960s. He was one of the last photographers to ever shoot Marilyn Monroe, and his best-known work may be "The Last Sitting," a collection of 2,500 photographs of Marilyn Monroe, shot over three days—just six weeks before she died—and published in Vogue in 1962. By the late 1970s, Stern returned to the U.S. to photograph portraits and fashion. In 1979, he published "The Pill Book", along with journalist Lawrence Chilnick. This A to Z guide of the most prescribed drugs in the US included color photographs of the pills by Stern. He also directed the documentary film Jazz on a Summer´s Day, in addition to creating the still photography for Stanley Kubrick’s film version of Lolita. He photographed Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, and Drew Barrymore, among others, in addition to his work for advertising and travel publications. Stern''s photography has been exhibited all over the world, including Tokyo, London, and New York. Notable exhibitions of his work include I Wanna Be Loved By You: Photographs of Marilyn Monroe, shown at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York, and in 2006, The Last Sitting opened at the small Musée Maillol in Paris.
In 2011, the feature-length documentary Bert Stern: Original Mad Man was released, in which Stern spoke candidly about the joys and tribulations of his career as a photographer.
Bert Stern died in 2013.