Albert Watson OBE (b. 1942)

Albert Watson is a true Master of Photography. His work blends the expressive strength of visual art, the glamour of fashion, and the astute quality of commercial photography into unforgettable images that have shaped the contemporary world.

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As one of the most influential international photographers whose success comes from a lifelong commitment to the pursuit of creativity, Albert Watson’s photographs present the world within a distinctive, remarkable vision.

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 started employment as an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles, where Albert began shooting photos, mainly 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. Watson began to work with magazines like Mademoiselle, GQ, and Harper’s Bazaar, 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 his commissioned assignments, Albert devotes much of his time to extensive personal projects. He has published several books, “Cyclops” (1994), “Maroc” (1998,) “Albert Watson” (2007,) “Strip Search” (2010), and “UFO: Unified Fashion Objectives” (2010). His latest book, “Kaos” was published by Taschen in 2017. In addition, many catalogues of Albert’s photographs have been published in conjunction with museums and gallery shows worldwide. The archives at his studio in Manhattan’s West Village contain a multitude of images and negatives from shoots with world-famous magazines and companies.

He has lectured widely on the subject of fine art photography. He has published Ted Talks and teaches a “Masterclass.” 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 lighting of subjects, especially the fetish objects and portraits, creates a nearly meditative atmosphere in the photographs. Though the wide variety of his images reflects an effortless versatility, they are nevertheless identifiable as Albert Watson’s 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.

SELECTED MUSEUM COLLECTIONS:

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, U.S
  • National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C., U.S
  • The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, SC