Stephen Wayda is an internationally
published photographer best known for his demonstrative images of celebrities, women. and lifestyles. In his creation of entertaining and compelling images he is regarded as a master in the use of composition and light, both natural and artificial.
Wayda’s photographs of A-list celebrities, Pop Culture icons, supermodels, musicians and the “girl next door” are a depiction of personality and, most of all, attitude. He is known for his use of light and composition to create a mood of realism that captures the intimacy and openness of his subjects, bringing out those fleeing moments of their humanity and their sense of self.
As a contributing photographer for Playboy magazine, Playboy Publisher Hugh M. Hefner stated:
“Beauty lights the brain and is its own reward. Playboy is that visual feast of beauty and that reward…. a celebration of glamour and the good life, and a reflection of my own romantic views of women. It’s the girl next door as part of a positive, life-affirming attitude toward sexuality, of female emancipation rather than exploitation. Playboy is a statement that good girls like sex, too.
For over 30 years Stephen Wayda has shared my dream and vision. From an inauspicious start at Playboy, he has become the most published photographer in the history of Playboy. His photographs have help Playboy in changing the way the world looks at women, and changed the way women look at the world.
His influence on photography cannot be overstated. His evolving styles, his sense of sexuality coupled with the personality of his photographic subjects brought the Playboy dream, from the fantasy of decadence and passion in Paris to the charm of the girl next door in the wheat fields of Texas, to life.
In his heart he is a cowboy whose job has brought him into contact with the world's most beautiful women. Playboy is read for its photographs, and what the reader saw in his photographs for Playboy was the American dream made real.”
At Playboy, where he photographed the most celebrities, covers, women and pictorials in the magazine’s history, he was joined by many of the most influential, celebrated and noted photographers in creating iconic, controversial and celebrated images.
Wayda has photographed on four continents, from the African plains to Tengboche Monastery at the base of Mt. Everest, from the islands in the Pacific and the Caribbean to the cosmopolitan cities of Europe, and from the heartland of America to the cities and jungles of Asia. His technical expertise ranges from an iPhone and Polaroid camera to vintage 8 inch x 10 inch view cameras, and from the use of daylight to the lighting of a small stage with 40 strobes.
His serendipitous path of becoming a photographer started as a print journalist for The Salt Lake Tribune. There he interviewed death row inmates, investigated gambling rings, challenged the local power structure, covered murders and mayhem, local and state governments and the lives of everyday people who became news through triumph, failure and tragedy. During his time as a reporter, Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake City Police Dept. honored Wayda for saving the life of Salt Lake City Police Officer Brent Elcock.
At the Tribune he added photojournalism to his reporting duties, where in the late ‘70s he developed an innovative method of photographic printing in Letterpress newspapers. This innovation led him and his mentor Brent Herridge into “fashion” photography for a Salt Lake City department store, resulting in a small town retailer becoming the largest user of advertising photographs in Letterpress newspapers in the country.
His path took another turn when he assisted Playboy photographer Dwight Hooker, who was retiring to start a career as an architect in Sundance, Utah. From there he became a protégé of Playboy Vice President and Editor Marilyn Grabowski. Wayda attributes his success as a photographer to Grabowski who gave him the opportunity to fail and succeed, to innovate and challenge conventional wisdom, to experiment and to persevere when others told him “it is unfortunate you don’t have the talent to match your opportunities.”