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One of the first photographers whose work I first looked at when I was starting out and said “Wow!”

Lillian Bassman was born in Brooklyn NY in 1917 and died in Manhattan in 2012 at the incredible age of 95! She was a fashion photographer for Junior Bazaar and later for Harper’s Bazaar from the 1940s – 1960s.

Lillian Bassman. Image: Abe Frajndlich

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It’s pretty simple for me: I simply love the beauty and style from that era. You see much of it in my photography. But Lillian has a much more artistic style. She studied art and incorporated that into her photography. Painting with a camera.

Image: Lillian Bassman

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Image: Lillian Bassman

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Her life is nothing short of amazing. It’s a shame there isn’t that much about her. There should be a movie about her. Seriously. Here are some bullet points:

• Knew her husband since the age of 6. Lived together when she was 15. Married at 18. Married for 73 years.

Image: Lillian Bassman

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• How many women were fashion photographers in the 1940s? She was one of them…

• Mentored fashion photographer Richard Avedon. You see her influence in his work.

• Quit fashion photography after 20 years in the business. Thought models were becoming too snooty. Quit cold turkey.

Image: Lillian Bassman

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• Decades later, a person found her work somehow by accident. He was doing an ad campaign for Neiman Marcus. Contacted Lillian to do the shoot for him. She hadn’t touched a camera in decades. She was in her 80s. She accepted.

• Taught herself Photoshop. The work she did for Neiman Marcus looked just like the work she did previously with film and a dark room.

Image: Lillian Bassman

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There was an exhibit of hers in a gallery when I first moved to New York. I wish I could’ve met her. Amazing lady.

Please someone, do a movie about her….

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