Deb Gordon talked to New York Times bestselling author Michael Gross whose latest book titled Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers was recently released in paperback just in time for New York Fashion Week.
Mr. Gross first delved into the fashion arena with his 1995 tome Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women, and now gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at fashion photographers, partly in homage to one of his favorites, Richard Avedon.
“I was talking to my agent about my wife’s desire that I write a sequel to Model and how much I would have liked to have written a biography of Avedon…and one of us said, ‘well, what about a book about fashion photographers – what if you just took the idea of Model and turned the camera around’, and we both realized that we were on to something and that became my next book,” said Gross.
With writing in his blood – his dad was nationally syndicated sports writer Milton Gross – Gross started his career surrounded and influenced by other literary stars like Gay Talese and Dominick Dunne, and has a storied history of writing best-sellers on intriguing subjects.
“I was very, very fortunate to come along at a moment when a lot of my idols were still not just alive but working, and I’ve been particularly blessed…and it’s something that I thank my lucky stars for every day,” said Gross.
Mr. Gross is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Avenue magazine, and his career also included fashion writing stints at New York Magazine and The New York Times.
“I started writing about fashion as a means to learn more, and to gain access to the inside fashion world, then I spent 10 years writing about fashion,” said Gross.
““At the New York Times, I was catapulted from nowhere to the front rows of fashion shows. The great thing about that was that not only were you sitting next to other fashion writers, but you were also sitting next to princesses and countesses…and the kind of people who actually wear those frocks.”
Having written numerous works ranging from luxury real estate to mystery novels, Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers, marks the author’s welcome return to the fashion realm and – in true form – continues his tradition of long and scintillating subtitles.
“Interestingly, all through the time that I was at the New York Times…writing Model, writing other books, I was collecting fashion photographs, so it was actually a case of for the first time, writing a book about something that I was personally invested in and passionate about, and that was really what motivated Focus.”