Legendary fashion photographer Hans Feurer, who shot the groundbreaking 1983 Kenzo ad campaign starring supermodel Iman, has died.
The photographer, who had a career spanning five decades, passed away at the age of 85 last Tuesday. Feurer’s death was confirmed by his management on Instagram.
Feurer, who was born in a small town in Zurich, Switzerland, began his career as a graphic artist and illustrator for various advertising agencies in London in the 1960s.
In 1966, he decided to embark on a career as a professional photographer after purchasing a Land Rover and moving to Cape Town, South Africa.
According to The Business of Fashion, during his time on the African continent, Feurer captured moments of adventure and light with his camera — a decision that defined his visual aesthetic as a photographer.
When he returned to London at the end of 1967, Feurer officially launched his career as a photographer — becoming celebrated for his sensual photographs of women that experimented with light and shadow in ways previously unseen.
Feurer landed coveted spots in magazines such as British and French editions of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar Spain, and Elle France.
In 1974, Feurer was commissioned to shoot the Pirelli Calendar in Seychelles. His innovative images for Pirelli, which used light and shade to create extraordinary effects, are still referenced in fashion photography to this day.
In a remarkable eye-popping shot, Feurer captures rays of light bouncing off a model’s glossy red lips — which we would easily mistake for being the result of Photoshop today.
— u-licious (@licious_u) July 29, 2015
In another image shot by Feurer for the Pirelli calendar, the shadows cast by palm trees overhead look like zebra stripes on a supermodel’s skin.
Images That Re-Wrote The The Rules for Fashion Campaign
But perhaps the defining images of Feurer’s career were the ethereal photographs he shot of model Iman in Lanzarote, Spain for a campaign for the fashion brand Kenzo in 1983.
Today, Feurer’s images — which captured Iman as an otherworldly vision swathed in layers of colorful fabric — are lauded for their role in rewriting the rules for photography for fashion campaigns. Feurer’s photographs also helped solidify supermodel Iman’s status as a fashion icon.
Iman by Hans Feurer for Kenzo S/S 1983. pic.twitter.com/YVDsl2lcrO
— Fare_Disfare1 (@alessio_rebecca) June 27, 2021
“Hans Feurer was an icon in photography, an absolute master of natural light that held no secrets for him,” Feurer’s management writes in a statement confirming the photographer’s death on Instagram.
“He saw life in color, possessed great rigor, and knowledge of garment, while allowing a lot of freedom of expression to models he photographed. Everything had to be credible and realistic.
“For him, fashion was about expressing a joy for life, creating emotions, dreaming, all while trying to reach as many people as possible.”
Image credits: Header photo via Wikimedia Commons.