Saturday, February 25, 2012

Toni Frissell: Style in Motion


Since the advent of fashion photography, the industry has been blessed with dozens of ingenious photographers who have one or another paved the way for future generations through their methods of lighting, directing, composition, film processing and what have you. Unfortunately, many of these early architects who captured style in motion aren't as acknowledged as others. One of these photographers who deserves more renown is Toni Frissell.


Toni Frissell was born Antoinette Frissell in 1907 New York City. She worked her way up in the fashion photography world in her early years (learning from the likes of photography legends Cecil Beaton and Edward Steichen) and was working for Vogue by the 1930s, and later on Harper Bazaar in the late 1940s.


Frissell also took photographs of World War II in Europe. She documented American soldiers and European civilians affected by the devastation of the war. She also took photographs of the lesser known heroes of the war; women working or serving in the military and the black air force pilots of the 332nd fighter group (also known as the Tuskegee Airmen).


Unfortunately for all her accomplishments, there is little information available online on Toni Frissell. In the middle of her lucrative career in fashion photography, she volunteered her services to photograph World War II. Even in the photography industry, she was one of the first pioneering women who created works of art behind the camera instead of the much more socially accepted role of model in front of the camera. As with Martin Munk√°csi, she preferred taking her models outdoors, giving a sense of style in motion to her pictures and showing how much more forward thinking women can be.


Toni Frissell doesn't have an official website, nor is there a good website that collects her photographs. The US Library of Congress has a short summary of her works, but most of her pictures are inaccessible online. The best option right now is the Wikimedia Commons page on her. There's also little style in motion when it comes to hard-copies as there are only two books widely available: Toni Frissell: Photographs 1933 - 1967 and The King Ranch, 1939-1944: A photographic essay. Finally, if you have more information on Toni Frissell, don't hesitate to leave a comment below.

8 comments:

Fang said...

Looks really good, too bad she didn't get all the appreciation she deserved.

R said...

Great and fascinating pictures!

Interwebs Fails said...

Love black and white photography.

Upcoming Top Games said...

Nice pictures!

G said...

that one of Lilli Palmer smoking is great.

Laughing Vault said...

awesome photos :D especially the last one :D

Banacek said...

She sure does make smoking look glamorous!

Andrew said...

The tennis girl and the one where the lady is in the water... both absolutely stunning. I'm impressed by the fact that she took war photos and that she was so willing to leave it all for the opportunity... even if it was unpaid?

Thank you for pointing out those who have accomplished much but not been noticed like they should.

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