Claiborne Swanson Frank

Spending the majority of her twenties working in the fashion industry and having the enviable opportunity of working under Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, Claiborne Swanson Frank decided to focus on her greatest passion: photography. Since leaving the magazine in 2009, Claiborne has remained part of the Vogue family as a contributing photographer, co-produced a book and just held her first solo exhibition.


Claiborne’s first encounter with fashion and photography was through her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Swanson. “I grew up with an eccentric mother who has a great love for fashion, an amazing eye and is a talented photographer.”  Claiborne too, shared the same love of fashion and photography. “As a child, she would express her personal style through clothes. “I remember loving clothes as far back as I can.” [She laughs], she recalls being in third and fourth grades thinking about what she would wear to school the next day.


Claiborne attended art school in San Francisco, majoring in fashion. In 2007, she decided to move to New York and began to work at Vogue. Shortly thereafter, she was promoted as the assistant to Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour.

The below photographs are from the Vogue feature, Five Days, Five Looks, One Girl…

My Nikon D 7000 is pretty much a constant accessory. The camera strap is a plane seat belt covered in fabric. I had it custom-designed, and I’ve grown so attached to it I can’t imagine shooting without it. On my wrist I’m wearing my grandmother’s lucky charm bracelet. My father gave it to me on my 29th birthday.

I collect vintage clutches and bags—even briefcases and luggage—and am always on the hunt. I love the smell of old leather and I appreciate the detail in the craftsmanship.

I’m so excited about my first solo show at the Lu Magnus gallery later this spring. Lauren, one of the gallery’s owners, and I are editing my photos together while standing next to a piece by the artist Jonathan Allen.

Here I am walking my dog Blue in the park.  This is a daily ritual of mine and something that I look forward to.  I’m wearing my Céline coat for warmth, a J.Crew marine fisherman sweater, my old blue jeans, and my Prada boots.


Claiborne has also released American Beauty a collection of photographs of American beauties, women who, as Claiborne puts it, “re-define what it means to be a woman in America today.” Subjects include entrepreneurs like Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer, actresses like Kick Kennedy, and environmentalists like Elettra Wiedemann. See more of Claiborne’s book here.


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