Signature of Elegance Lillian Bassman Photo Exhibition

CARMEN, early 1950’s © Lillian Bassman

CARMEN, early 1950’s © Lillian Bassman

2014.3.13 THU - 4.10 THU

12:00 - 20:00 Open daily / Free admission


Lillian Bassman was a leading fashion photographer of the legendary postwar generation that brought a new sense of freedom to the medium. Originally trained as an artist and art director, she created graphically arresting, atmospheric images that used photography as a medium for making pictures in fresh and surprising ways. In a career spanning five decades, she never ceased to innovate. Bassman began her career as a photographer at Harper’s Bazaar in 1948 and she was one of its leading contributors during the years of its greatest influence. Over the next twenty years, working with all of the major models of the day, she assembled a definitive body of work that captured the inner lives of sophisticated women. She turned from fashion photography to more personal forms of expression in the 1970s, but in the late 1996, at the age of seventy-nine, she returned to fashion photography, and since then her contributions to photography have gained her an international following.
Bassman had photographed over such a long period of her life. We present a selection of many of her iconic images for the first time in Japan that encapsulate her eye, her energy for experimenting with form and her love of her Art.


Lillian Bassman

Lillian Bassman was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1917 of Jewish immigrant parents from the Ukraine and Lithuania. In 1935 she joined the Federal Art Project of the WPA as an assistant painter. In 1941 she became assistant to Alexey Brodovitch, the art director of Harper’s Bazaar, and by 1945 she was art director of Junior Bazaar. In 1948 she received her first photography assignment for the Bazaar, and in 1951 she launched the Bassman-Himmel Studio with her husband, Paul Himmel. Over the next twenty years, they both worked as fashion photographers. After the studio closed in 1971, she began to move away from fashion work to pursue more personal work. In the early 1990s, her fashion work was rediscovered by a new generation, and in 1996 she went back to work as a fashion photographer. She received the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Photography in 2004, by which time she had an international following and numerous exhibitions. She died in 2012 at the age of ninety-four.




The exhibition will be held at Ryukoku University Omiya Campus in the Main Hall as the Kyotographie International Photo festival official exhibition from April 19 to May 11, 2014.
Details will be announced at;