Tuesday, 23 March 2010


LILLIAN BASSMAN (June 15, 1917 in Brooklyn) is an American photographer.

Her parents were Jewish intellectuals who emigrated from Russia to the United States in 1905 and settled in Brooklyn, New York. She studied at the Textile High School, with Alexey Brodovitch, in Manhattan and graduated in 1933. While there, she met the photographer Paul Himmel and they married in 1935.

Bassman worked as a textile designer and fashion illustrator before working as a fashion photographer for Junior Bazaar and later at Harper's Bazaar, where she promoted the careers of photographers such as Richard Avedon, Robert Frank, Louis Faurer and Arnold Newman. Under the guidance of the Russian emigrant Alexey Brodovitch, she began to photograph her model subjects primarily in black and white. Her work was published for the most part in Harper's Bazaar, between 1950-1965.

In the early 1970s Lillian Bassman, among the most important fashion photographers of the 20th century, made the decision to dispose of her career, quite literally. Artists do this all the time without the intent — giving themselves over to excess, retreating to ashrams — but Ms. Bassman’s approach was aggressive and determined. Disillusioned by the costuming of the late 1960s, she had had enough of fashion and expressed her disdain by destroying decades’ worth of negatives and placing others in a trash bag in the coal room of her Upper East Side carriage house. Her era of furtive eroticism was over, and there was no point in scrapbooking it.
Miraculously over 20 years later, a forgotten bag filled with hundreds of images was discovered. Bassman’s fashion photographic work began to be re-appreciated in the 1990s.

Presently in her 90s, she is now working with digital technology and abstract color photography to create a new series of work. The most notable qualities about her photographic work are the high contrasts between light and dark, the graininess of the finished photos and the geometric placement and camera angles of the subjects. (wikipedia)


1 comment:

Francois said...

Merci de me faire découvrir son travail et quelle belle histoire que ces négatifs refont surface.
Merci aussi d'être "photographique" cette semaine!
C'est très inspirant de découvrir quelque chose de nouveau.

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