Frank Horvat was born in 1928 in Abbazia, Italy (formerly Austro-Hungary, now Opatija, Croatia). Having traded his stamp collection for a 35mm camera at the age of fifteen, Horvat was already an accomplished photographer by 1950, when he met Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson (a close friend ever since) during his first trip to Paris, and decided to become a photojournalist. In the early 50's, after traveling to Pakistan and India as a freelance photographer, Horvat settled in London, working for Life and the Picture Post. In 1955, Horvat moved to Paris, where he still lives, and became a fashion photographer—using the techniques of photojournalism: real life situations, available light, and 35mm cameras.
Frank Horvat is a pioneer of what has come to be regarded as a golden age of fashion photography—the legacy of which is explored in the Museum of Modern Art's current exhibition, "Fashioning Fiction in Photography Since 1990." In the late 1950's and early 1960's, Horvat worked for Jardin des Modes, Elle, Glamour, Vogue, and Harper's Bazaar, while also an associate member of the Magnum agency. Horvat's fashion photography was frowned upon by his colleges at Magnum who only accepted reportage, and this made him destroy quite a few of his negatives at the time—hence the reason why this exhibition of vintage photos consists of either unique images or compositions of which only a few prints survive.