Lillian Bassman, ‘Anne Saint-Marie’, 1958, CAMERA WORK

About Lillian Bassman

Lillian Bassman’s work as a photographer may have never been noticed by the art world if it weren’t for a trash bag full of her negatives that were found when she was already in her 70s. Bassman got her start as an art director under the tutelage of Alexey Brodovitch at Harper’s Bazaar. Working on a spin-off of the magazine, she showcased the work of photographers like Richard Avedon and Robert Frank, artists who inspired her to explore the medium herself. She developed a signature style, capturing dreamy black-and-white portraits of graceful models through experiments in the darkroom—cropping, toning, bleaching, and using gauzes and tissues to manipulate images until they took on the look of mysterious fashion illustrations.

American, 1917-2012, Brooklyn, New York