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Jonathan Becker Photography

American, b. 1954

With a style at once impactful, reflective and irreverent, photographer Jonathan Becker belongs more to the artistic than the documentarian realm, masterfully capturing a theatrical sense of the unexpected as he offers glimpses into rarefied worlds.

Bea Feitler — the late, legendary artistic director responsible for vamping up Harper’s Bazaar and Rolling Stone in the 1960s and ’70s — gave Becker his first big break, in 1981, when she asked him to submit images for the relaunch of Vanity Fair.

Becker, who was 26 at the time, had already been the first Paris-based photographer for W magazine and had forged a close friendship with French-Hungarian Surrealist photographer Brassaï, who was then in his 70s. By this age, too, Becker had also developed an enviable reputation as a portrait photographer working on Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine and alongside Slim Aarons and Norman Parkinson at Town & Country, although he knew not to step on his famous colleagues’ toes. “I was a young little interloper,” he says. “I learned more by listening and watching those giants than by trying to engage in any direct interactions with them.”

The young photographer, who was moonlighting at the time as a New York City cab driver, hadn’t dreamed that the project would put his pictures on an equal footing with those of legends of the medium: Also contributing to this debut edition were some of photography’s most revered names, including Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Helmut Newton, as well as rising star Annie Leibovitz, whose popularity had recently skyrocketed, thanks to her Rolling Stone cover picture of a naked John Lennon curled up alongside a fully clothed Yoko Ono.

That issue was a game changer in modern magazine publishing, with Vanity Fair setting the bar for engaging editorial and daring design for decades to come. It also signaled the making of a man: Becker’s talent for visual storytelling shone through in his avant-gardist tribute, and the magazine’s creative team kept him on, marking the start of his long career there.

As a regular Vanity Fair contributor, Becker operated in the highest echelons of society, traveling the world and immortalizing countless A-list movers, shakers and thinkers from the fields of fashion, culture and politics, not to mention royalty.

Becker's unconventional way of directing his eye is clearly instinctual, resulting in an unusual aesthetic that mixes perception, myth and reality in equal measure. This balance is most apparent in his famous black-and-white picture of Robert Mapplethorpe, taken in 1988 at the opening of Mapplethorpe’s retrospective exhibition at the Whitney, when the famed photographer was dying of AIDS. It is a group shot, showing various figures at different angles, in which Mapplethorpe, caught in profile and listening intently to a woman kneeling beside him, seems to stop time. The moment is heavy with emotion and also dreamlike. It is ineffably surreal.

Becker has given us Stephen King as a cross-eyed zombie (1980); Dustin Hoffman as a mischief maker, lounging on a stack of sun loungers at the Beverly Hills Hotel (2004); and Diana Vreeland as an aging Raphaelesque Madonna dressed in a voluminous black gown and sitting cross-legged in her famous red-clad living room at 550 Park Avenue (1979). The photographer, a lover of spontaneity who deftly plays with perspectives, keeps us intrigued with his open-ended narratives.

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Artist: Jonathan Becker
Elaine's Kitchen - Andy Warhol and Elaine, New York, 1976
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Elaine's Kitchen - Andy Warhol and Elaine, New York, 1976 Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 14" x 14.5" Platinum & Palladium Print Edition Nº 1 of 3 Certificate of Origin Signed and Titled by the Photographer in Edition and Emboss-stamped in the Margin/Recto Printing & Edition Notes along with Copyright Stamp and Applicable Providence on Verso Printed by hand at the photographer's studio in the traditional Platinum & Palladium process on 100% cotton rag paper. Platinum & Palladium prints are known for their unrivaled longevity and unparalleled subtlety. Print cost includes wrapping/packing/crating for shipment in double-tubing. ______ Jonathan Becker (Steven Kasher Gallery bio by Mark Rozzo) Literate flair, acute visual intuition, love of mischief and spontaneity, and global wanderlust: These are among the hallmarks of the work of Jonathan Becker, whose photography spans four decades and includes iconic portraits (often for Vanity Fair) of a multiplicity of subjects, including Robert Mapplethorpe, Martha Graham, Madonna, Elia Kazan, Prince Charles, Eudora Welty, André Leon Talley, Ai Weiwei, Diana Vreeland and Jack Kevorkian. Becker - whose work was first published in Andy Warhol’s Interview in 1973 - was born in 1954 and raised in New York City. In the mid-1970s, he moved for a year to Paris, where he was mentored by his hero, Brassaï. Upon return to New York, Becker drove a cab, toting his camera and parking to complete magazine assignments. A 1981 exhibition of Becker’s work at New York’s Rentschler Gallery included a series of arresting images of patrons taken inside the kitchen at Elaine’s, the storied hangout on New York’s Upper East Side. This exhibition, curated by art director Bea Feitler brought Becker to the attention of Frank Zachary, editor-in-chief of Town & Country. Zachary invited Becker to work for the magazine, where the young photographer further developed his passion for journalistic portraiture alongside Slim Aarons, who, after Brassaï, became Becker’s guiding light. Becker was then enlisted by Bea Feitler to contribute portraits to the prototype of Vanity Fair’s 1983 re-launch. His participation led to a highly prolific association with the magazine as Contributing Photographer, continuing to this day. Becker has also contributed portraits and reportage to The New Yorker, Vogue, W, The Paris Review, amongst truly most major publications. In complement to his editorial work, Becker has accepted a limited number of private and family portrait commissions each year, some accompanied by privately published books, and in the course of his three-years-long project for the Rockefeller Foundation, Becker documented its vast array of philanthropic grant recipients on four continents abroad. Six trade books comprised entirely of Becker’s photographs have been published including Bright Young Things...
Category

1970s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Platinum

La Chasse au Cerf, Normandie, France, September 1975
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
La Chasse au Cerf, Normandie, France, September 1975 Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 44" x 44.5" Archival Pigment Print Edition Nº 1 of 9 Certificate of Origin Signed a...
Category

1970s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Villa Cetinale, Siena, Italy, May 2012
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Villa Cetinale, Siena, Italy, May 2012 A moment at a storied property where centuries of history pile on Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary ...
Category

2010s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Platinum

Bunny Lambert Mellon’s gardens, Upperville, Virginia, 1 June 2010
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
At Oak Spring Farm, Bunny Lambert Mellon's Gardens, Upperville, Virginia, 1 June 2010 Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 28" x 28.5" Ar...
Category

2010s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Ernest Hemingway's house, Ketchum, Idaho, 30 June 2011
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Ernest Hemingway's house, Ketchum, Idaho, 30 June 2011 On the other side of this door, in the foyer, Ernest Hemingway ended his life with a shotgun. Photographed by Jonathan Becker...
Category

2010s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

On the Sofa at the Real Dolls Factory, San Diego, 19 February 2015
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
On the Sofa at the Real Dolls Factory, San Diego, 19 February 2015 Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 44" x 44.5" Archival Pigment Print Edition Nº 1 of 9 Certificate of O...
Category

2010s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Chevalier André Leon Talley on the Pont Alexandre III, Paris, 30 June 2013
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Chevalier André Leon Talley on the Pont Alexandre III at six in the morning, Paris, 30 June 2013 Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 44" x ...
Category

2010s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Liu Ye in his studio with muse, Beijing, 16 May 2007
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Liu Ye in his studio with muse, Beijing, 16 May 2007 X Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 44" x 44.5" Archival Pigment Print Edition Nº 1 of 9 Cert...
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Bunny Mellon’s potting shed in Upperville, Virginia, 31 May 2010
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Bunny Lambert Mellon’s trompe l'oeil potting shed in Upperville, Virginia, 31 May 2010 Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 28" x 28.5" Archival ...
Category

2010s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Julian Schnabel at his Outdoor Studio, Montauk, New York, 13 August 2001
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Julian Schnabel at his Outdoor Studio, Montauk, New York, 13 August 2001 Schnabel's magnificent open-air studio benefits fully from the special light of Long Island's East End as oi...
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Platinum

Martha Graham with Madonna & Calvin Klein at New York City Center, October 1990
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Martha Graham at New York City Center after her final onstage bow - backstage with Madonna and Calvin Klein, October 1990 "Martha was my godmother, and she was posing." - JB Photog...
Category

1990s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Platinum

Hunter Thompson and Anita Bejmuk at home, Aspen, Colorado, 7 July 2002
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Hunter Thompson and Anita Bejmuk at home, Aspen, Colorado, 7 July 2002 X Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 18" x 18.5" Archival Pigment Pr...
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Jean-Paul Goude & Toukie Smith in NYC Subway, 1976
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Jean-Paul Goude & Toukie Smith in NYC Subway, 1976 Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 14" x 14.5" Platinum/Palladium Print Edition Nº 1 of 6 Ce...
Category

1970s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Platinum

Yanomami, Amazonia, Brazil, January 1995
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Yanomami, Amazonia, Brazil, January 1995 X Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 28" x 28.5" Archival Pigment Print Edition Nº 2 of 9 Certificate of Origin Signed and Titled...
Category

1990s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Hunter Thompson and Anita Bejmuk at home, Aspen, Colorado, 7 July 2002
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Hunter Thompson and Anita Bejmuk at home, Aspen, Colorado, 7 July 2002 X Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 44" x 44.5" Archival Pigment Pr...
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

at the Darulaman Palace, Kabul, August 2003
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
at the Darulaman Palace, Kabul, August 2003 X Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 28" x 28.5" Archival Pigment Print Edition Nº 1 of 15 Certificate of Origin Signed and T...
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Saturday Night Live in Elaine's Kitchen, 1976
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Elaine's Kitchen - Saturday Night Live • Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi & Lorne Michaels, New York, January 1976 Photographed by Jonathan ...
Category

1970s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Linda Hutton in the attic tub, Southampton, August 1974
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Linda Hutton in the attic tub, Southampton, August 1974 X Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 16" x 16.5" Archival Platinum/Palladium Print Edition Nº 1 of 6 Certificate o...
Category

1970s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Platinum

Elaine's Kitchen - Andy Warhol and Elaine, New York, 1976
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Elaine's Kitchen - Andy Warhol and Elaine, New York, 1976 X Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 44" x 44.5" Archival Pigment Print Edition Nº 1 of 9 Certificate of Origin...
Category

1970s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Chez Zsa Zsa Gabor, Bel Air, California, 5 May 2007
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Chez Zsa Zsa Gabor, Bel Air, California, 5 May 2007 X Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 44" x 44.5" Archival Pigment Print Edition Nº 1 of 9 Ce...
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Bunny Lambert Mellon’s potting shed, Upperville, Virginia, 31 May 2010
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Bunny Lambert Mellon’s potting shed, Upperville, Virginia, 31 May 2010 "Trompe l'oeil (and not)" Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 28" x 28.5...
Category

2010s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Ai Weiwei in his studio, Beijing, 12 May 2007
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Ai Weiwei in his studio, Beijing, 12 May 2007 X Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 44" x 44.5" Archival Pigment Print Edition Nº 1 of 9 Certificate of Origin Signed and ...
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

At the Real Dolls Factory, San Diego, 19 February 2015
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
At the Real Dolls Factory, 19 February 2015 Portrait of a sex doll crated for shipment to a client. The Real Dolls brand sat at the high-end of the trade, p...
Category

2010s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Emma in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, April 1984
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Emma in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, 1984 Pão de Açucar, (Sugarloaf Mountain), Rio’s defining landmark looms in the background. Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 14" x 14.5...
Category

1980s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Platinum

Jocelyne Wildenstein at home, New York, 11 January 1998
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Jocelyne Wildenstein at home, New York, 11 January 1998 It was all animal. The wilder, the better. The décor, the wallpaper, the sculpture and paintings, the trophies, the pets, t...
Category

1980s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Villa Cetinale, Siena Italy, May 2012
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Villa Cetinale, Italy, May 2012 A moment at a storied property where centuries of history pile on Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 44" x 4...
Category

2010s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

Diana Vreeland at home, 550 Park Avenue, New York, 21 July 1979
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
Diana Vreeland at home, 550 Park Avenue, New York, 21 July 1979 Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 44" x 44.5" Archival Pigment Print Edition Nº 1 of 9 Certificate of Orig...
Category

1970s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

David Bowie, Damien Hirst, & Julian Schnabel, New York, 3 May 1996
By Jonathan Becker
Located in New York, NY
David Bowie, Damien Hirst, and Julian Schnabel at Hirst's Opening, Gagosian Gallery, New York, 3 May 1996 X Photographed by Jonathan Becker Contemporary 44" x 44.5" Archival Pigmen...
Category

1990s Contemporary Jonathan Becker Photography

Materials

Archival Pigment

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Jonathan Becker photography for sale on 1stDibs.

Find a wide variety of authentic Jonathan Becker photography available for sale on 1stDibs. You can also browse by medium to find art by Jonathan Becker in archival pigment print, pigment print, platinum print and more. Much of the original work by this artist or collective was created during the 21st century and contemporary and is mostly associated with the contemporary style. Not every interior allows for large Jonathan Becker photography, so small editions measuring 14 inches across are available. Customers who are interested in this artist might also find the work of Bill Owens, Amy Touchette, and James Whitlow Delano. Jonathan Becker photography prices can differ depending upon medium, time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $6,400 and tops out at $25,000, while the average work can sell for $15,500.

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