George Hoyningen-Huene

Datesborn Russia, 1900 - 1968
RolesPhotographer
NationalityAmerican
BornSaint Petersburg, Russia

Born amidst wealth in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a Russian father and American mother, George Hoyningen-Huene led a privileged childhood, exposed to painting and ballet at an early age. Upon encountering Michelangelo's work while on holiday in Rome, he returned home eager to enroll in art school. By 1914, however, war had broken out, and his family fled to England.

After the war the family settled in the south of France, and Huene soon made his way to Paris. He became interested in film and took parts as an extra. It was an important experience, he explained, because "it taught me how to light people and light sets. I was observing and watching all the time how they did it. . . ." For a while he made drawings for his sister's design company and began selling his illustrations to fashion magazines, which led to a collaboration with Man Ray. Following that success, Huene signed an exclusive contract with Vogue to create backdrops for their photographers. A fortuitous cancellation launched Huene's career behind the camera, and he became a leading fashion and society photographer.

Huene's sophisticated use of lighting defined his style. After parting with Vogue, he went to work for Harper's Bazaar in 1935. He moved to Mexico in 1946 and then settled in Los Angeles, where he remained for the rest of his life.