Arthur was born on June 8, 1940 in New York City where he lived with his parents and two siblings. He attended Stuyvesant High School. He then went on to study painting at Hunter College. Finding the medium a bit too lonely he decided to try his hand at photography. That hand happened to be a royal flush. His 1971 debut in British Vogue created, not only a sensation but also a permanent place for himself in the world of fashion photography.
Arthur has a relaxed and easy snapshot style; it blew a breath of fresh air into a world where completely curated and model turned mannequin studio shoots were the norm. Arthur encouraged his subjects to move freely in the frame. The models he chose were lively, wore less make-up, and only enhanced the natural light that he favored. Taking his models outside into the real world, where the looks he was shooting would really be worn and put to the test, became a signature of his personal style.
Arthur quickly became one of the best known and most emulated photographers. The risks that he took with his fashion pictures changed the industry and their ideas of what a ‘fashion’ photo was and opened up the possibilities of what fashion photography could be.
Arthur’s work has appeared regularly in Vogue for over 40 years. His long career has also given him the chance to work on many major ad campaigns for high-end brands. His work with Vogue gained notoriety, which gave him the opportunity to, not only, shoot for Vogue and its international counterparts, but to shoot for many other top fashion magazines.
Arthur’s intense love of jazz and ballet can be seen in his numerous photographs. Many of these images have also been published in Arthur’s books. Each book, it self a separate work of art, that has been personally selected and curated by Arthur and Marianne, his agent and close confidant, Arthur’s published books include:
Personal Fashion Pictures, 1983
The Swan Prince, 1987
Models Manual, 1993
Camera Ready: How to Shoot Your Kids, 1997
Camera Crazy, 2004
Arthur’s sixth book, The Big Picture , which is being published by Steidl, will be available October 2014. It is a comprehensive book that will include fashion as well as personal photographs from the start of his career up to the present.
He still lives and works in New York City with his wife and his 3 successful children.