Amazing Fashion Photography by Lillian Bassman

Lillian Bassman (1917–2012) was a photographer, art director, and painter best known for her work in fashion photography.

Bassman wanted to be a dancer, but an injury to her heel crushed that hope. Instead, she attended a vocational high school and studied textile design. She graduated in 1933.

From the 1940s until the 1960s Bassman worked 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 from 1950 to 1965.

By the 1970s Bassman’s interest in pure form in her fashion photography was out of vogue. She turned to her own photo projects and abandoned fashion photography. In doing so she tossed out 40 years of negatives and prints – her life’s work. A forgotten bag filled with hundreds of images was discovered over 20 years later. Bassman’s fashion photographic work began to be re-appreciated in the 1990s.

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. Bassman became one of the last great woman photographers in the world of fashion.

 

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Lillian Bassman. Barbara Mullen (Blowing Kiss VARIANT), Harper’s Bazaar via

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Lillian Bassman. More Fashion Mileage per Dress, Barbara Vaughn, New York via

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Lillian Bassman. Southwest Passage – Sunset Pink: Model unknown, pajamas via

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Lillian Bassman. Fantasy on the Dance Floor: Barbara Mullen in a Christian Dior Dress, Paris. Harper’s Bazaar, 1949 via

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Amazing Vintage Photos of Fashion’s First Supermodel Lisa Fonssagrives

Swedish fashion model Lisa Fonssagrives (1911 – 1992) is widely credited as the world´s first supermodel. She was born Lisa Birgitta Bernstone and was  raised in Uddevalla.

She went to Mary Wigman’s school in Berlin and studied art and dance. After returning to Sweden, she opened a dance school.  She moved from Sweden to Paris to train for ballet and worked as a private dance teacher with Photographer Fernand Fonssagrives, which then led to a modeling career.

She married Fonssagrives in 1935; they divorced and she later married fashion photographer, Irving Penn, in 1950.

The Elton John photography collection auction held by Christie’s on October 15, 2004 sold a 1950 Irving Penn photograph of his wife, Lisa Fonssagrives, for $57,360.

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Lisa Fonssagrives by Irving Penn (1953)

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Lisa Fonssagrives by Irving Penn (1949)

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Lisa Fonssagrives by Lillian Bassman

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Lisa Fonssagrives by Irving Penn

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VOGUE Cover, Lisa Fonssagrives by Horst P. Horst (1940)

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Lisa Fonssagrives (1940’s)

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Lisa Fonssagrives on the Eiffel Tower by Erwin Blumenfeld, Vogue (1939)

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Lisa Fonssagrives Le Modele by Fernand Fonssagrives (1942)

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A Collection of Vintage Fashion Photography From the 1950s

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‘Black and White’, Mary Jane Russell, Le Pavillon, New York, Harper’s Bazaar, 1950 by Lillian Bassman via

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Henry Clarke, Suzy Parker wearing Givenchy, 1952 via

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Lisa Fonssagrives in Charles James Suit, photographed by Horst P. Horst for Vogue, 1950 via

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Carmen Dell’Orefice in Paris, 1950s, photo by Richard Avedon via

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Dorian Leigh wearing Madame Grés by Henry Clarke in 1955 via

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Traina-Norell dress 1957, photo by Karen Radkai (model could be Sunny Harnett) via

A Collection of Vintage Photos Featuring Dovima

Dorothy Virginia Margaret Juba (1927 – 1990), later known as Dorothy Horan, and best known as Dovima, was an American model during the 1950s.

Born in New York City, Dovima was discovered on a sidewalk in New York by an editor at Vogue, and had a photo shoot with Irving Penn the following day. She worked closely with Richard Avedon, whose photograph of her in a floor-length black evening gown with circus elephants—”Dovima with the Elephants” —taken at the Cirque d’hiver, Paris, in August 1955, has become an icon. The gown was the first evening dress designed for Christian Dior by his new assistant, Yves Saint-Laurent.

Dovima was reputed to be the highest-paid model of her time. She had a role in Funny Face (Paramount, 1957) as an aristocratic-looking, but empty-headed, fashion model with a Jackson Heights whine.

Dovima gave birth to a daughter named Allison on July 14, 1958, in Manhattan. Allison’s father is Dovima’s second husband, Allan Murray.

She died of liver cancer on May 3, 1990 at the age of 62.

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Diana Vreeland, Dovima and Richard Avedon, 1950s via

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Lillian Bassman, Dovima in New York, 1954 via

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Dovima in Christian Dior Suit and Hat, photographed by Richard Avedon, 1955 via

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Richard Avedon, Christobal Balenciaga, Dovima in cloche – Cafe de Deux Magots, Paris 1955 via

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Henry Clarke, Dovima wearing Lanvin dress, 1955 via

Vintage Photos of Glamorous 1950s Model Suzy Parker

When modeling agent Eileen Ford met the model Dorian Leigh’s fifteen-year-old redhead sister, in 1948, she ‘almost fainted with delight’. Suzy Parker became a prominent model of her times who, with her high dimpled cheeks, short flame hair and dark blue eyes, captured the attention of the most famous photographers such as Richard Avedon who believed ‘she was something else – a redheaded force of nature, a wolf in chic clothing, the one flesh-and-blood woman in a world of exquisite creatures’ (source).

Her modeling career reached its zenith during the 1950s. She appeared on the cover of dozens of magazines and in advertisements and starred in movie and television roles.

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Suzy Parker in Harpers Bazaar, wearing a little feathery hat. Photograph by Richard Avedon via

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 Suzy Parker for Mauboussin. Photograph by Henry Clarke, 1953 via

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Suzy Parker 1955 in Lillian Bassman’s photograph The V‐Back Evenings. Lillian Bassman/Harper’s Bazaar via

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Suzy Parker, Etole Leopard, Paris. Photograph by Georges Dambier, 1952 via

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Suzy Parker wears Dior Haute Couture. American Vogue. Photograph by Horst P. Horst, 1952 via

Women Wearing Masks – Vintage Photos

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Lee Radziwill at the plaza hotel at Truman Capote´s black and white ball New York 1966

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Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow at Truman Capote´s black and white ball

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Edwige Feuillère

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Baroness Jean de L’espee attending masked ball, Paris, July 1946, photographed by David E. Scherman for LIFE Magazine.

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 Portrait by Brassai, Lilliput, March 1947

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The Merry Widow by Lillian Basman

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Audrey Hepburn in How to Steel a mIllion

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 A young Twiggy wearing a mask and peeking through the curtains of the Paris shop Torrente, Vogue 1967

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