Iconic photographer Bruce Weber focuses on pet project

He's been telling us stories through his photos, in magazine ads and commercials for decades.

But rarely does Bruce Weber step in front of the camera to share his story of the sexy photos that shocked a generation, created icons and revolutionized fashion photography, CBS News' Jamie Wax reports.

"People would say to us, 'Oh God, that's so wild,'" Weber told CBS News, "and yet it seemed so normal to me, you know?"

From the sensual Calvin Klein ads of the '80s to the controversial Abercrombie & Fitch campaign of the '90s and 2000s, Weber transformed "normal" for an entire industry with his images.

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Bruce Weber photo for Calvin Klein, 1980
Courtesy Bruce Weber

"That was a time when a lot of men weren't in photographs, especially in magazines, you know? And if they were, they had a tie on, and they were all buttoned up, you know?" Weber said. "And I've always felt that men, just like women, really needed an appreciation of themselves and the way they looked physically."

The steamy photos we're now accustomed to seeing on the glossy pages of magazines like Vanity Fair and Vogue actually originated from an innocent desire - to be like the models Weber saw in magazines.

"I was really, like, geeky as a kid, you know? And I didn't play sports, and I was always hiding in a library, you know, behind a fashion magazine or an art book or something like that," Weber said. "And so maybe I took a lot of pictures like that, of men and women who I thought, 'Oh, wouldn't it be nice to look like that?'"

Over the past three decades, the soft-spoken Weber has become one of the best-known masters of his art. His work with celebrities and models is now rivaled by his photographs of everyday people.

His latest exhibit centers around the people he met while working in Detroit on a 2006 assignment with model Kate Moss.

The project incorporates his love for the people of the Motor City with man's best friend.

The photographer partnered with Tom Kartsotis of Detroit-based company Shinola to create a line of pet products, which, like all Shinola products, is manufactured in the U.S.

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Courtesy of Bruce Weber

"I had met Tom from Shinola, and I really liked him. I liked what he was about," Weber said. "He really believed in, throughout America, small businesses and small towns should get started again and get back to work."

Weber used his own golden retrievers as models for the line.

"My dogs are not film dogs," he said. "They're not perfectly trained. Nan and I are not the alpha dog, you know?"

Weber and his wife, Nan Bush, also his producer and manager since 1974, have always traveled to shoots with their dogs.

And though the mutts may not be professionals, they're definitely not camera shy. Weber's dogs have been featured in many of his fashion photos.

Weber tries not to be selective or inhibited about his work.

"I really like to go out and challenge myself, you know?" Weber said. "I wake up in the morning, and if I have a sitting that day, I really take a moment to feel how blessed I am that I can get up, that I still have my sight at my age and that I can still take pictures. That means a lot to me."

Weber not only works with stills, he has created many feature films. His documentary on musician Chet Baker was nominated for an Academy Award.

And he's been working on a film about actor Robert Mitchum for over 20 years, set to be finished later in 2014.

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