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IDENTIKIT

NAME Eduard Jean Steichen

DATE OF BIRTH 1879 

DEPARTURE 1881 with the Switzerland to America 


The start of a new journey

When Eduard Jean Steichen, aged 2 at the time, embarked upon the long journey to America, little did he know where his future would take him. Born in Luxemburg in 1879, he and his mother Marie boarded the Switzerland in order to join Eduard’s father who had emigrated to the United States a year before and settled in Chicago. The decision to move to America was one that would impact Eduard Steichen’s life more than anyone could have imagined. 
 

An artistic upbringing

Steichen and his family relocated from Chicago to Milwaukee when he was 10, where his love affair with photography began.  He studied art at the local university and taught himself to draw and paint, but photography was his true passion. When he was just 16 he purchased his very first camera, a secondhand Kodak detective. 


 

Fashion, fame and photography

Eduard Steichen soon became regarded as one of the most important American photographers of the 20th century. His photography was often featured in fashion magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair.

During his long career, Steichen also became a gallery partner with the great Alfred Stieglitz, a photographer and modern art promoter who was instrumental in making photography an accepted art form. In 1945 Steichen won an Academy Award for his war film, The Fighting Lady. He became the first director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York where he created the famous “Family of Man” exhibition. 

To this day, Eduard Steichen is considered one of the most influential figures in fashion photography. When he boarded the Red Star Line in 1881, he set sail on an adventure that would lead to success, fame and an unwavering passion for the arts.