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Capturing the poetic essence of his subjects and creating out of public figures a flamboyant world of his own imagination, the American fashion photographer, Francesco Scavullo, is highly admired for his idealized and fantasylike fashion and beauty photography. Best known for his celebrity portraits, Scavullo was born on January 16, 1921, in Staten Island.
Scavullo's early photographic efforts concentrated on his sisters and their friends. He began his career as an apprentice in a studio that produced catalogs before he worked for ‘Vogue’ and became Horst P. Horst's assistant. In 1948, he created a cover for ‘Seventeen’ and won a contract with the magazine. During the 1970s, Scavullo helped create the ultimate ‘Cosmo Girl' look that dared to be a way more seductive than other women’s magazines of the time.
Scavullo's covers for ‘Cosmopolitan’, that he produced for three decades, revealed many models such as Rene Rosso, Farrah Fawcett and Brooke Shields. Between his hands, the models went through a real ‘scavulloization', as he selected himself their provocative garments, hairstyles and makeup. Scavullo also popularized the magazine's controversial nude male centerfolds.
Earning further major fame with his photographs of Barbra Streisand that served to promote the film ‘A Star is Born' or the Diana album cover that featured an incredibly sexy wet-haired, jeans and white T-shirt adorned Diana Ross, Scavullo enjoyed the most exquisite anecdote of his time.
Scavullo's work has also been used in the covers of ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ and ‘Rolling Stones' magazines. He photographed Madonna and Brooke Shields for Time and Martha Mitchell for New York magazine. Scavullo also produced or collaborated on books including “Scavullo on Beauty” (1976), “Scavullo on Men” (1977), “Scavullo Women” (1982), “Scavullo” (1984), and “Scavullo Nudes” (2000).
At the age of 82, Scavullo died of heart failure on January 6, 2004 in New York.