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David Fahey of the Fahey/Klein Gallery on Phil Stern

If a photographer had been responsible for even a fraction of a fraction of the images that Phil Stern had created, they’d unquestionably be considered a legend.

The fact of the matter is that Stern didn’t just have remarkable techniques, an otherworldly sense of timing, and an unparalleled eye, he had the drive to create a vast body of work that redefined how most photographers approach the form. And Stern had the good luck (not that going to war is ever a lucky circumstance) and winning personality to continually usher himself into prime positions to capture the very zeitgeist of his time. 

For those familiar with Stern’s photos, it’s almost easy to take the man’s work for granted in 2022. However, the truth is these images changed the very way people saw the world. Every shot Stern snapped was evocative, transcendent, and told a story without giving away the whole plot. Whether it be candid behind-the-scenes shots taken on the sets of iconic films, the covers he shot for important jazz albums on the Verve label, his captures of Hollywood’s golden era and the gilded celebs of yesteryear, or the indescribably pathos-heavy battlefield photos he captured during his time serving in World War II as a member of “Darby’s Rangers,” Stern’s gifts as a photographer provided us all with an uncensored look at humanity at both its finest – when it was creating art – and at its worst, amid the horrors of war. Stern’s photos also had a tendency to capture the unexpected humanity and humor of American GIs fighting the ultimate fight during World War II. Many of Phil Stern’s photographs became the defining images of celebrities; he had a knack for capturing the personalities of his subjects in a way that always feels remarkably honest, like you’re getting a look behind the curtain at the very souls of his subjects or as if you were hanging with them casually as a friend – which Stern often was.

Plenty of people have analyzed, lionized, and waxed poetic about Phil Stern and his work over the years, but few have the type of insight into the man and his craft like David Fahey of the Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles. Not only has Fahey been an integral figure in shaping the world’s perception of fine art photography as a valid art form in general, he was a friend of Phil Stern’s and understood the man himself in a way those of us that are enamored with his work could only hope to. As such, we feel tremendously fortunate to have recently spoken with Fahey about Phil Stern while surrounded by the man’s earth-moving work at the Fahey/Klein Gallery. 

In this very special episode of our series The Details, Craft + Tailored’s CEO and serious photography enthusiast Cameron Barr sits down with David Fahey to get deep on Phil Stern the man, Phil Stern the photographer, and to get Fahey’s unique perspective on Stern’s legacy as a great champion of his work and a friend of the sadly departed maverick.

You can learn more about Phil Stern and his work at and you can visit the Fahey/Klein Gallery at 

Special thanks to the Stern Family and David Fahey

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