Photographer Jonathan Becker began contributing to Vanity Fair on the heels of an especially successful solo exhibition in Chelsea in 1981. His portraits of filmmaker Louis Malle and of Becker’s mentor and friend Brassaï featured largely in the pages of the prototype for the magazine’s relaunch, in 1982. Becker’s specialty in portraits, photographed by and large on location, soon became a Vanity Fair staple: Robert Mapplethorpe, Jack Kevorkian, Jocelyn Wildenstein, and Martha Graham, as well as countless socialites, artists, and heads of state.
Assignments for the magazine have dispatched Becker far and wide—from the Amazonian jungle, for first-encounter photographs of members of the Yanomami tribe, to Buckingham Palace, for the first photographs showing the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles together. Becker is known for his close collaboration with Bob Colacello, Alex Shoumatoff, and other Vanity Fair writers on stories about the denizens of worldly watering holes: the Adirondacks and Aspen, Palm Beach and Palm Springs, Capri and so forth. Over the course of three years’ work for the Rockefeller Foundation, Becker documented its funded projects on five continents.