In Metamorphoses of an American Karl Lagerfeld traces the physical and emotional development of Brad Kroenig, once an unknown but now the world’s most sought-after male model. Lagerfeld discovered Kroenig in 2003, took his first photographs of him in Biarritz, and since then has observed him through his photographic lens, month by month. In hundreds of photographs Lagerfeld explores Kroenig’s evolution from a young “All American Boy” into a professional model conscious of the subtleties of facial and corporeal expression. These photographs are however not simply documentation; rather Lagerfeld and Kroenig work together to create a new persona, one which Kroenig expresses without losing a sense of his own self.
Lagerfeld selects a spectrum of literary and cultural references for Kroenig to interpret: we see him as James Dean, as Rudolph Valentino, as a Gatsby-like figure from F. Scott Fitzgerald, and as Lieutenant Pinkerton from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. Yet throughout these transformations, there is never the sense that Kroenig is merely acting; instead he presents newly discovered aspects of himself through the guises of other characters. Metamorphoses of an American contains photography made both within and beyond the fashion world. However regardless of the purpose of Lagerfeld’s images, each one evidences rigorous formal principles grounded in an appreciation of early twentieth-century photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen. Indeed Lagerfeld refers to his work more as “pictures” than photographs, conveying the graphic processes of construction and design from which each image emerges.
15.5 x 21 cm