Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Inspired by Lillian Bassman

It's a Cinch: Carman by Lillian Bassman, New York Harper's Bazaar, 1951
John Galliano once described Lillian Bassman's photographs as "painterly strokes of light". Her use of abstraction, dynamic composition, and manipulation of exposure in her photographs of women are hallmarks of her signature style. Lillian Bassman was a leading fashion photographer for magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar from the 1940s through the 1960s. In more recent years, she has photographed campaigns for Galliano, Neiman Marcus, New York Times Magazine, among others.

In 2009, the book Lillian Bassman Women was published featuring 150 of her best images. It was a little over a year ago that I discovered Lillian's work and wrote a post about her book. Since I'm not much of a techie, it was her example that encouraged me to finally master Photoshop and take advantage of its incredible power to manipulate images to a painterly effect. If she could master Photoshop at the age of 84, then it didn't seem like I had any excuse not to follow her lead!

I recently discovered the Slate Gallery Guide listing for the first show of Lillian Bassman's work in Canada which opens on Thursday, February 10th at the Izzy Gallery. This show called Women features eleven works of this iconic fashion photographer and runs until Thursday, March 3rd.

Ere we shall meet again
by Ingrid Mida 2010
At my most recent exhibition of work All is Vanity (at Loop Gallery until February 13, 2011),  my photos were compared to to Bassman's, a comparison that I felt honoured by. When I wrote my artist statement for the show, I included photographers Cindy Sherman, Sarah Moon and Deborah Turbeville as having inspired me when I should have put Lillian Bassman's name at the top of the list!