Victor Skrebneski, whose striking pictures of famous people and designs which includes Cindy Crawford, Bette Davis and Orson Welles had been a fixture of advertising campaigns and gallery displays for much more than a 50 percent-century, died on Saturday in Chicago. He was 90.
The induce was most cancers, his close friend Stephen Rybka explained as a result of a spokeswoman.
Mr. Skrebneski 1st grew to become perfectly recognized for photographing a print promotion marketing campaign for Estée Lauder, a contract he landed in 1962. “The Estée Lauder woman,” as the marketing campaign arrived to be recognized, ran for decades in shiny magazines and featured a collection of types shot by Mr. Skrebneski, typically in options that prompt old income and refined taste.
The campaign designed this kind of an impression that the company gained 1000’s of inquiries from people today who needed to know the place to get the tablecloth or the vase seen in a specific impression. Just one female reported she was redecorating her residing space to match a single in an ad and questioned if the company could photograph the other 50 percent of the area so that she could move forward.
Mr. Skrebneski sometimes employed rooms in his very own dwelling, on Chicago’s North Facet, for all those pics. In actuality, he informed The New York Occasions in 1978, he employed them so normally that the head of Estée Lauder’s advertising agency advised him that he really should consider redecorating.
Although developing his promotion portfolio, Mr. Skrebneski began drawing acclaim for his celeb portraits. The black turtleneck turned his signature: He photographed Orson Welles, Bette Davis, Andy Warhol and several some others putting on just one.
“Everybody wished to be photographed in the black turtleneck,” he recalled in 2019 through an celebration in Chicago in which he was staying honored. “They required the 1 that Orson Welles wore.” (The Welles picture, taken in 1970, was the first of the sequence when he photographed Ms. Davis the future 12 months, he gave her a turtleneck that was several measurements lesser.)
Other celebrities and products in his pics ended up not carrying a turtleneck or everything else. One particular was David Bowie.
“He definitely cherished staying naked,” Mr. Skrebneski reported. “He told me he did not know what he seemed like. When he goes to most people else’s pictures studio, they dress him up, they make him up, they do his hair, and that is not him, so he wanted to see how he was.”
1 of his earliest superstar pictures, from 1967, was of Vanessa Redgrave, her arms crossed above her bare breasts. A 1989 exhibition of his get the job done at the recently opened Betty Rymer Gallery in Chicago featured considerably fewer recognizable bodies.
“The nudes have no heads, no arms,” Mr. Skrebneski instructed The Chicago Tribune. “I really don’t have to worry about make-up and expression. It definitely is sparse, the most essential thing I could do.”
Victor Paul Skrebneski was born on Dec. 17, 1929, in Chicago to Joseph and Anna Skrebneski. His mom owned a restaurant, and his father labored in the steel field.
Mr. Skrebneski usually instructed the story of his introduction to photography: Whilst actively playing in a park about the age of 7, he found an deserted camera, which he dutifully turned around to the park attendant.
“I took it within and gave it to the woman at the desk,” he told The Chicago Sunshine-Occasions in 2000. “She reported if no one particular picked it up in a week, I could have it.”
No a person did.
In the commencing he was his possess teacher, which, he mentioned a long time afterwards, contributed to the blurry spontaneity of some of his preferred shots.
“No one told me when I was 7 decades aged that I should not shake the digital camera,” he reported. “That was the commencing, and I appreciated the way it looked, and I didn’t know there was any other way to glimpse.”
He did eventually get some instruction, studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technological know-how ahead of opening his very own studio in Chicago in 1952.
He afterwards toyed with the plan of relocating to New York, but just as he was thinking about it, he received an assignment from Marshall Field’s, the Chicago division retail outlet, and then a different, and another. He stayed in his hometown, though in his extended vocation he shot pics all over the earth and created a particular affinity for Paris.
Mr. Skrebneski experienced his critics. Alan Artner, reviewing a 1999 retrospective at the Museum of Up to date Photography in The Tribune, explained his approaches ended up borrowed — the black turtlenecks, he observed, have been reminiscent of Richard Avedon’s pictures of the Beatles — and called the get the job done on show “the visual equivalent of name-dropping and gossip.”
Mr. Skrebneski’s romance with the Estée Lauder corporation lasted 37 yrs. In 1987 he published “5 Wonderful Women of all ages,” a single of his many books, with pictures of 5 of the models who had been “the Estée Lauder woman” more than the a long time: Phyllis Connor, Karen Harris, Karen Graham, Shaun Casey and Willow Bay.
Cindy Crawford labored with him in the 1980s when continue to a teenager and credited him as a mentor, though they experienced a lengthy falling out after she left in the center of a catalog shoot to take an assignment out of town. The rift inevitably healed in 2016 she presented him with a Fifth Star Award, a area honor in Chicago.
Mr. Skrebneski, who leaves no speedy survivors, was also known for his awareness-receiving posters for the Chicago Worldwide Film Festival, which frequently highlighted versions wearing number of if any apparel.
“In 1966, I requested Victor to help make the Chicago Movie Competition hot,” Michael Kutza, founder of the festival, explained in a statement. “He ended up putting it on the map.”
Mr. Skrebneski performed an integral element in refurbishing the park all around Chicago’s landmark water tower two many years back.
“The mayor called and questioned if I would do it, and I mentioned surely,” he stated in a 2010 job interview on “The Friday Night Show” on WTTW, Chicago’s PBS outlet. “I didn’t understand that I had to get income to do it. And I’ve in no way questioned for income from any person prior to.”
The 1st man or woman he identified as, he reported, was Cindy Pritzker, a member of a nicely-heeled Chicago family members.
“I stated, ‘Cindy, how do I raise money to get this thing heading?’” he recalled. “And she claimed, ‘Anybody who can see the h2o tower need to shell out you.’ And I claimed, ‘Can you see it from wherever you dwell?’ She explained, ‘Yep — uh-oh.’ So she gave me cash appropriate away.”