Originally from Luxembourg but in US since very young age, Steichen was born to a family of modest origins. He studied lithography and drawing and self-taught photography with a second hand camera. In 1900 he decided to leave US for Paris and on its way he stopped in New York: here he met Alfred Stieglitz, who purchased three of his photographs and started with him a long collaboration. Two years later Steichen designed the logo for Camera Work photography journal and contributed to various issues. His collaboration with Stieglitz involved also the foundation of 291 Gallery, which presented artists such as Picasso, Brâncuși, Rodin, Cezanne. From 1911 he started to work in fashion and after WWI he focussed even more on fashion and celebrities portraiture. During WWII he was Director of Naval Aviation Photography Unit and created the awarded documentary The Fighting Lady. At the end of WWII he was appointed Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), where he curated the photography exhibition Family of Man, now permanently exhibited in his birth house.