Jesse Frohman

photographer standing in a room
Photographer: Jesse Frohman with some of his portraits on display at Blender Gallery.

Jesse Frohman, a native of New York, initially pursued a degree in economics at the University of Michigan. However, his life took an unexpected turn when he took up photography as an additional interest. Despite lacking formal education in this art form, Frohman was able to create a portfolio of platinum prints that captured the attention of the iconic photographer Irving Penn. Penn then employed Frohman to oversee operations at his studio, offering him an unparalleled learning experience. During this apprenticeship, Jesse not only honed the skills taught by Penn but also incorporated his own unique qualities into his photography, such as strength, dignity, and subtle vibrancy. Over the years, Frohman has amassed an extensive portfolio that includes portraits of numerous well-known personalities as well as still-life photography. He has also expanded his professional scope by working in diverse areas like magazine publications, advertising, and the music industry. Furthermore, Frohman has authored two acclaimed photographic books and his work has found a place in several private art collections.

Early Life and Education

Jesse Frohman was originally focused on earning an economics degree at the University of Michigan, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. The University of Michigan is a public research university founded in 1817, well known for its rigorous academic programs.

Table 1: University of Michigan Details

LocationAnn Arbor, Michigan, USA
TypePublic research university
Notable ProgramsEconomics, Engineering, Medicine

While studying economics, a field that examines the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services, Jesse Frohman found himself irresistibly drawn to the world of photography.

The Turn Towards Photography

The allure of photography was so strong that Frohman continued to engage with it even after his return to his hometown of New York. Despite not having formal training or certifications in photography, what he did have was an intriguing portfolio of platinum prints—a highly specialized form of monochromatic photography. Platinum printing is a technique that employs platinum (as opposed to silver) to produce more durable, tonally rich images.

Meeting Irving Penn

It was this portfolio that caught the eye of Irving Penn, a legend in the world of photography. Penn is renowned for his fashion photography, portraits, and still lifes. He provided Jesse with an unparalleled opportunity to manage his studio, which became a formative experience for the young photographer.

Table 2: Irving Penn Details

Notable WorksFashion Photography, Portraits
Career SpanOver 60 years
InfluenceMajor figure in 20th-century photography

Learning Under a Master

Working under Irving Penn, Jesse gained comprehensive insights into various photographic techniques and aesthetic principles. During this mentorship, he assimilated lessons not just on the technical aspects, like camera settings, angles, and lighting, but also on the subtler, aesthetic aspects of the art, such as how to capture the soul of the subject.

Infusing Personal Sensibilities

Jesse Frohman did not just replicate what he learned; he infused his own attributes into his art. He integrated elements of strength, dignity, and a kind of quiet energy into his photographs, making each one uniquely his own.

Professional Accomplishments

Frohman's work has covered a wide range of subjects, from celebrities to inanimate objects in the form of still lifes. He has collaborated with various publications and also worked in advertising and with recording companies. His adaptability and wide-ranging skills have enabled him to author two award-winning photographic books. His oeuvre has also been incorporated into many private collections, showcasing the high regard for his work.

Table 3: Jesse Frohman's Professional Portfolio

Celebrity PortraitsNumerous high-profile shoots
Still LifeVaried subjects
PublicationsCollaborations with magazines
AdvertisingCampaigns for several brands
Music IndustryWork with recording companies
Literary ContributionsAuthored two award-winning photographic books
Private CollectionsWork included in multiple private collections


Jesse Frohman's journey from an economics student at the University of Michigan to an accomplished photographer is a compelling tale of passion intersecting with opportunity. Despite lacking a formal background in photography, Frohman's talent was evident, earning him a prestigious apprenticeship with Irving Penn. From there, he not only mastered various photographic techniques but also added a unique layer of personal sensibilities to his work. Today, his versatile portfolio spans multiple sectors, and his artistry is recognized and celebrated through awards and inclusion in private collections.

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