If you ask Victor about his work, he’ll reply “it’s the work I’m doing today, and will do tomorrow.” For Victor, the camera always faces forward, toward the future. – Tony Jones
As I entered the Ralph Lauren boutique in Chicago with my client, the ever so stylish Dr. Melinda Knight, I felt like I had walked into an episode of “This Is Your Life.”
The crowd had gathered to celebrate the life, work and new book “Ageing” by iconic Chicago photographer, Victor Skrebneski. He is known for having captured some of the most important Hollywood legends, socialites and artists throughout the decades, including Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Bette Davis, David Bowie and Diana Ross, to name a few.
As Tony James, Skrebneski’s friend and President-Emeritus of School of the Art Institute of Chicago wrote in the preface to the book, “in “Ageing”, there are no sad signs of sentimental recollections of better times past in the progress of life – that’s not in his [Victor Skrebneski’s] character – instead it’s a celebration by means of vivid assembly of people, moments and locations (in Victor’s hierarchy people come first, always, then places.) It’s a joyful visual chronology of a life that is brimming, rich, well-textured and lived to the full.”
The gathering of stylish and elegant people holding the book was far from random: many were the lucky ones who, at some point, sat for a portrait with Skrebneski. They still consider his work to be their best shots ever taken. What Victor creates is not just photography – his gift is his ability to see the inner beauty and capture the essence of his subjects.
“No other book on the work of this artist has shown Victor himself, the creator behind so many iconic images. He’s been the invisible man… Victor is nowhere to be seen, but it is he who directs and engineers the creation of these unforgettable images,” says Tony Jones. In “Ageing” Victor finally reveals himself, the man behind these images along with the people, places and things that are most important to him.
Standing next to us in a pair of stilettos was the spectacular Maime Walton, as gorgeous and glamorous as she was 20 years ago. During an exchange about their Skrebneski experiences, Maime Walton told Dr. Knight how Skrebneski knew how to pull out the showgirl in her by playing Josephine Baker. Suddenly she was in her element, taking photos that captured the magic of that moment in her life. How very Victor: to set the stage, including soundtrack, and make you feel comfortable and glamorous.
To me, this celebration was very personal. I first met Victor Skrebneski as a young man in my early 20s. I was introduced by my mentor, Joan Weinstein, from Ultimo and having been exposed to someone so genius, focused and creative as Victor is one of the things that defines who I am and what I do today. -Jesse
THE WORK OF VICTOR SKREBNESKI
Get Victor Skrebneski’s book “Ageing” to see more of his iconic work and read his captivating autobiography.