Horst P. Horst (1906 - 1999) was born Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann in Weissenfels-an-der-Salle. He initially studied architecture in Hamburg and apprenticed in Le Corbusier's studio in Paris in 1930. However, after learning photography from fashion photographer George Hoyningen-Huene, who worked for Vogue, Horst gave up architecture to pursue photography. In 1932, he began working for Vogue in New York, but differences of opinion with the publisher led him to return to Europe. He was invited back by Condé Nast in 1935 and took over Hoyningen-Huene's job as chief photographer for French Vogue.
At the outbreak of World War II, Horst immigrated to the United States and worked for American Vogue until the early 1980s, with an interruption for Army service from 1942-1945. While his trademark elegance was considered outdated in editorial fashion photography by the 1950s, he continued to do more advertising work. Horst was encouraged by Diana Vreeland, editor-in-chief at Vogue, to photograph international high society. He spent most of his time between 1961 and 1975 travelling and photographing for Vogue, Vanity Fair, and House & Garden. He published several books on his photographs, including Photographs of a Decade (1945), Patterns from Nature (1946), and Salute to the Thirties with George Hoyningen-Huene (1971).
Hoyningen-Huene heavily influenced Horst's early work, but he quickly developed an original style through innovative lighting techniques that enhanced his subjects' best features. His expertise contributed to the success of his architectural and lifestyle photographs, which set a new standard for the field in the 1960s. The resurgence of luxury in fashion photography in the late 1970s and early 1980s renewed interest in Horst's pictures from the 1930s. His work has been showcased in several exhibitions, including two retrospectives at ICP, one of which coincided with his receiving the ICP Master of Photography Infinity Award in 1996.