A Life Fashioning Art

Lillian Bassman in The New York Times
In her lifetime, Lillian Bassman's photographs went from fashion to fine art. Yet Ms. Bassman - who died on Monday in New York at the age of 94 - showed all along a vision that was as ethereal as it was graphically striking, evoking a world of gauzy portraits with sharp contrasts and romantic moods.


A onetime art director who worked for Alexey Brodovitch at Harper's Bazaar, her photographic career took off in 1947, after she had taught herself. Her goal was "to take the hardness out of photography," which she accomplished through various darkroom manipulations.


"She changed fashion history, changed photography, and changed the way we see women," Glenda Bailey, the editor in chief of Harper's Bazaar, said in a statement on Tuesday. "The touching sensuality with which she imbued her work was extraordinary. She was a visionary, a pioneer, and her work was quietly powerful."

15 February 2012