Josef Astor was born in Ohio. He graduated with a BFA degree from Syracuse University, and soon after moved to New York where he worked as a photo assitant for Gosta Peterson, Deborah Turbeville, Irving Penn, and a brief time, with Angus McBean. In 1985 he opened up his own studio and began his historically informed, theatrically staged style that drew upon various influences from his life; studies in art histroy, his father's medical practice, science, and magic. Astor has worked for such advertising clients as AT&T, IBM, Hitachi, Phillip Morris, Geoffrey Beene, Bergdorf Goodman, Absolut Vodka and Ralph Pucci. His work has appeared in such magazines as The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, House and Garden and Bomb. In 1996 he was the recipient of the Infinity Award for 'Applied Photography' from the International Center of Photography.