Hats by Christian Lacroix Haute Couture, New York Times Magazine, Paris, March 1996.
Model: Barbara Vaughn, Dress: Ficol. New York, 1956.
Chanel advertising campaign, 1958
Jonh Galliano for Haute Couture Givenchy, 1996 and Christian Dior, 1949.
Harper’s Bazaar, New York, c. 1957 and November, 1954.
Actress Barbara Mullen, Paris 1949
Portrait of Lillian Bassman
Lillian Bassman and Paul Himmel, c. 1945
How many times have you marveled at those black and white photos and colorful postcards featuring elegant women dressed up for the covers of Vogue Magazines or while having coffee in Paris? The internationally acclaimed fashion photographer Lillian Bassman
, whose ethereal images captured world-wise women, died on Monday at her Manhattan home at age 94. From the 1940s until the 1960s, Bassman worked as a fashion photographer and then as an Art Director for Harper’s Bazaar
, where she promoted the careers of photographers such as Richard Avedon
, Robert Frank
, Louis Faurer
and Arnold Newman
. By the 1970s, her fashion eye for romantic yet eccentric pictures was out of vogue. She turned to her own photo projects and tossed out 40 years of negatives and prints. Over 20 years later, a forgotten bag filled with hundreds of images was discovered and Bassman’s fashion photographic work began to be re-appreciated in the 1990s. Into her 90s, she worked with digital technology and abstract color photography to create a new series of work, using Photoshop for her image manipulation. At the age of 93 says she uses “the same techniques in Photoshop as I did in the darkroom”, describing her modern approach and the shift in her career as a simple tool upgrade, “the palette has changed, the end result is the same.” We will always remember her for having the unique capability of depicting a woman’s personality through her lens and for adding to the pages of several fashion magazines a high-class glamorous, extracting a romantic but edgy essence.