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Lillian Bassman : Redefining Fashion

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A solo exhibition of work by Lillian Bassman (1917-2012), renowned as a modernising force in post-war fashion photography, opens at Atlas Gallery on 27 February (until 18 April 2020). A fashion photographer at Harper’s Bazaar in the 1950s – 1970s, Bassman was famous for her high-contrast images of society women, actresses and models. Reworking early negatives in the 1990s, Bassman accentuated the stylised vision she had begun exploring in her early career, attracting a new wave of interest in her work. A selection of black and white photographs from both periods will be on display. Bassman’s work was significant in emphasising the power of elegance, mystery and gesture in fashion. “[Lillian Bassman] makes visible that heart-breaking invisible place between appearance and the disappearance of things” (Richard Avedon). Her prints, developed in high contrast and carefully over-exposed, are abstract, luminous, soft yet captivatingly dramatic. The models become silhouettes, consumed by blankets of light and darkness; only the curve of an eye in profile, the gentle sweep of a jawline or a tiny nose peeping out from under a large hat give...

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