I don’t watch much television nowadays.  It seems overrun with endless ‘reality’ shows, cookery programmes, home improvements and people finding antiques in their attic.  How I wish there were more decent TV programmes on photography!

Last night I decided to watch the Rankin documentary ‘Seven Photographs That Changed Fashion’ again on Youtube.  It features Rankin attempting to recreate classic works by Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, Herb Ritts and Erwin Blumenfeld.  If you haven’t seen it I recommend it.

Today, I see that BBC Four are showing a documentary tonight on Blumenfeld – ‘The Man Who Shot Beautiful Women’.

Erwin Blumenfeld (1897–1969) is hailed as one of the most influential photographers of the twentieth century, with a career that included photographing celebrities, advertising campaigns and fashion – most notably working for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.  Born in Berlin, Blumenfeld moved to Paris in 1936, where he was soon brought to the attention of Cecil Beaton, who helped to introduce him to French Vogue.  In 1941 a move to New York saw him working for Harper’s Bazaar and shortly after American Vogue.  His images graced many front covers.  By the end of the 1940s he was reputed to be the most successful and highest paid photographer in the world.

One of Blumenfeld’s most iconic photographs (and the one that Rankin recreated in his documentary) is ‘The Doe Eye’ – a masterful image that featured just the red lips, left eye and beauty mark of model Jean Patchett.  It appeared on the January 1950 cover of Vogue and has spawned several imitations.

If you feel like reading more about Erwin Blumenfeld there are several books on Amazon, including:

amazon_eb1     Stern Fotographie No. 65: Erwin Blumenfeld

amazon_eb2     Erwin Blumenfeld – Studio Blumenfeld

amazon_eb3     Eye to I: The Autobiography of a Photographer

As I usually like to finish each blog post with one of my photographs, here’s a fashion shot of Rachel (click to enlarge).


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