Self-portrait of Sam Haskins in his Johannesburg studio (1962).
The fashion world is mourning the loss of one of its most iconic photographers.
, famed for his nude photography, his book "Cowboy Kate
" and fashion shoots for the likes of Vogue
and Harper's Bazaar
, took his own life on Nov. 26, according to a letter from his son, Ludwig, posted on the photographer's blog, SamHaskinsBlog.com
. He was 83.
Calling the act "entirely out of character with his consistent celebration of living large, art and beauty," Ludwig says Haskins had grown depressed after suffering a stroke on Sept. 19, the day of his most recent show opening (at Milk Gallery in New York City), and "never recovered his emotional stability."
Ludwig says his father's "last rock star moment" was the success of his "Fashion Etcetera
" book launch and exhibition. As we reported this fall
, the tome's release also coincided with a Haskins-inspired collection from Tommy Hilfiger
This exclusive biography, written for StyleList by Sam Haskins' son, Ludwig, is a touching tribute to his father's legacy:
"Sam Haskins produced one of the great pioneering moments in the history of post-war photography. The production of 'Five Girls
' in 1962 liberated figure photography from cliche and won equal proportions of fans among both genders.
"His unapologetic celebration of life, beauty, sensuality and visual ideas found a huge international audience. 'Cowboy Kate,' first published in 1964, a whimsical Western tale and the first creative photographic book to use pure visual narrative and the conscious use of grain as creative tool, has become a ubiquitous reference for the design, fashion, movie and photographic industries.
"The lightheartedness which Sam brought to the content of his images was combined with a signature quest to show his models as natural and real people.
"He was also a photographer's photographer, a master of studio and location shooting and one of the great black and white printers of his generation. His content spanned a huge range of work, from the ethnic art homage seen in "African Image" to his books of nudes, 'Five Girls,' 'Cowboy Kate,' and 'November Girl,' and the polished graphic photo illustrations in color first seen in 'Haskins Posters,' the 30 years of calendar production from 1970 to 2000, to the fashion work done in the last decade of his life.
"It was ironic that in his mid-70s the fashion industry 'discovered' the master photographer whom they had been 'referencing' for decades. While the content spanned a wide gamut from tender and profound to whimsical and humorous, he was, in every respect, hard-core about the photography itself and set relentlessly high standards of presentation.
[Haskins enjoyed a "rediscovery" of sorts as a fashion photographer following a shoot for Yves Saint Laurent
in 2002, and in response to huge demand, released a "director's cut" version of "Cowboy Kate"
"Each new generation of young photographers produces a fresh batch of fans because Sam's images speak of common longings and celebrations across time."
Sam Haskins - A Retrospective
Click through the gallery to see the iconic images of legendary photographer Sam Haskins through the years.
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