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February 9, 2016

Striking Polaroid Portraits Taken by Tony Viramontes During the 1980s

Tony Viramontes was born in 1956 in Los Angeles, USA, of Spanish and Mexican parents. He traveled extensively as a child. He studied fine art and photography in New York at FIT and Parsons, before switching to fashion and beauty illustration.

When Viramontes made his debut in the late 1970s, his hard and direct style was a marked contrast to the prevailing soft pastel school of fashion illustration. He scored an immediate success, rapidly acquiring the kind of prestigious editorial commissions too often allocated to photographers, from Lei, Per Lui in Italy, Vogue in the USA, The Face in Britain, as well as Jill Magazine, Marie Claire, Le Monde and City Magazine in France.

Viramontes also worked with some of the most renowned names in fashion including Yves St. Laurent, Valentino, Versace, Chanel, Perry Ellis, Claude Montana and Rochas cosmetics. As well as creating portraits of Paloma Picasso and Diana Ross. The album covers he conceived for seminal artists of the period-Duran Duran, Donna Summer and Janet Jackson- caught the glitzrieg mood of the 1980s. His striking images are of strong, dominant, aggressive yet feminine women, sensuous men, smoldering and smokey-eyed, who vibrate with New Wave energy. He did not like to be labeled an illustrator, and considered himself to be an artistic creator, a creator of ideas in images.

Tony Viramontes had great artistic potential, but he died in 1988 at the age of only 33. Two decades after his death, his work still shimmers with sensuality and a power that remains undimmed.

Janice Dickinson

Karen Bjornson Macdonald

Leslie Winer

Marie Helvin

Mike Hill

Nick Rhodes

Rene Russo

Steven Meisel

Brad Harryman

Greg Thompson

Janice Dickinson

Janice Dickinson


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