Photographer Scott Heiser was best known for his grainy, wildly cropped glimpses of fashion runway shows that appeared in Interview between 1979 and 1987. Andy Warhol admired Heiser's work enough to include him in the initial episode of Fashion, Warhol's cable television program, in 1979. Outside of the fashion world, Heiser produced sensitive portraits and documented a wide range of public entertainments, including the Big Apple Circus, the Ice Capades, and the Westminster Kennel Club Show. Whether photographing the Paris runway or Madison Square Garden, he used extreme angles and eccentric cropping to intensify the strangeness of his subjects. A meticulous printer, Heiser produced rich, beautifully toned photographs.
Fashion, Circus, Spectacle is the first book-length study dedicated to this brilliant photographer whose interests and talent placed him at the exciting confluence of art, fashion, and celebrity in downtown New York. Heather Campbell Coyle, curator of American art at the Delaware Art Museum, draws from extensive interviews and research to reconstruct the life, career, and methods of an artist whose name nearly disappeared from the history of photography. Art historian Stephen Peterson explores the photographer's unique perspective on his subjects, highlighting his use of silhouettes and profiles and his interest in photography and film from the 1920s through the 1940s. Interspersed with these scholarly essays and brief contributions from the artist's associates are more than a hundred images, including sixty pages of stunning plates showcasing Heiser's photographic career. Bold, dramatic, at times abstract, yet frequently poignant, the images of Fashion, Circus, Spectacle capture the spirit of a dynamic moment in American culture.
Contributors: Hilton Als, Heather Campbell Coyle, Stephen Petersen, Danielle Rice, Thomas Woodruff.
Heather Campbell Coyle is Curator of American Art at the Delaware Art Museum and editor of Howard Pyle: American Master Rediscovered.