Bertram “Bert” Stern was a self-taught American commercial photographer. He was the son of Jewish immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn. His father worked as a children’s portrait photographer. After dropping out of high school at the age of 16, he gained a job in the mail room at Look magazine. He became art director at Mayfair magazine, where Stern learned how to develop film and make contact sheets, and started taking his own pictures. In 1951, Stern was drafted into the US Army and was sent to Japan and assigned to the photographic department.
In the 1960s, his heavy use of amphetamines, led to the destruction to his marriage to Allegra Kent, a ballerina. By the late 1970s Stern returned to the U.S. to photograph portraits and fashion.