Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Sam Haskins News

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Because the blog has always been a bit like a magazine, it has long occurred to me that we need another web presence for Sam which is more like a newspaper. So, now there is ‘Sam Haskins News

Sam’s presence on Twitter and Facebook will continue to alert the social media world to new content on the blog, news and web site.

Sam Haskins News ss

Sam Haskins a Bologna – Sam’s ‘lost’ masterpiece

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

In 1984 the city of Bologna invited a number of international photographers to interpret the city. Of the resulting portfolios one was selected for an exhibition and a book. Published only in Italian and long out of print, to many lovers of photography outside of Italy, ‘a Bologna’ is Sam’s lost masterpiece.

The prints now reside in Bologna’s Cineteca’s Photographic Archive

Sam took Bologna’s juxtaposition of modern/ancient, youth/tradition, pious/secural and fused it with his own passion for montage in image making. Characteristic of his location work he completed the task with amazing speed shooting the whole book in about ten days and then spending about six weeks in his studio working on the black and white prints and montages. Mixing colour and black and white presented him with no formulaic or dogmatic contradictions – he just did it and it worked.

The book and exhibition have recently (2009) been the subject of a thesis produced by Ms Fabiana Gabrielli a History of Art student at Bologna university. To the best of my knowledge this is the first time that a single Sam Haskins project has formed the basis of an academic study. Someday an inspired soul will take a deep look at Cowboy Kate and the book’s sustained influence on image making and fashion.

Bologna Arrow Montage

Bologna Long Shadow

Bologna War Angel Montage

Angel over Bologna Sam Haskins

Bologna dark steps Sam Haskins

We posted to the blog in 2007 about ‘a Bologna’ and for the sake of reference cohesion, images not included in the list above are repeated below.

Bologna bus 02

Bologna Aida 02

Bologna Manhole Cover 01

Bologna Pylon Blog 01

November – a landmark month for Sam Haskins

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Sam Haskins would have been 85 on the 11th of this month, the 26th of November 2011 will also mark the second anniversary of his death. Arguably his greatest single work, ‘November Girl’ published in 1967, continues to exert a powerful and widespread influence on the world of glamour, fashion and art photography

To celebrate his genius with the elusive ingredients of model, lights, studio and darkroom – here is a selection of images from ‘November Girl’. This was the culminating title in the figure trilogy from the sixties, ‘Five Girls’ (1962), ‘Cowboy Kate’ (1964) and ‘November Girl’ (1967). Along with ‘African Image’ also published in 1967, November Girl saw the high water mark of Sam’s pioneering creative work with black and white photography in the sixties. African Image pushed the envelope with book layout harder than November Girl, it was Sam’s book layout magnum opus but in terms of photographing a nude model in the studio November Girl remains unsurpassed to this day.

One of Sam’s stylistic signatures was the use of simple ‘easily-to-hand’ props. A black raincoat from Macy’s, a set (which of course he built) made to look like a bohemian loft in Paris (one of the reasons, no doubt, why the French are so in love with ‘November Girl’), a simple cotton scarf, odd postcards and collectibles from his home.

Novermber Girl by Sam Haskins CU 12

Novermber Girl by Sam Haskins CU 14

Novermber Girl by Sam Haskins CU 11

Novermber Girl by Sam Haskins CU 10B

Novermber Girl by Sam Haskins CU 15

November Girl by Sam Haskins RC3C

Novermber Girl by Sam Haskins CU 13B

Novermber Girl by Sam Haskins BO 16B

Novermber Girl by Sam Haskins SS 01

The selection above is intended to give an airing to a small sampling of the many gems from November Girl that are routinely overlooked by editors who seem to keep choosing the same iconic images. Some of the famous November Girl shots have featured on the blog before but for the sake of a cohesive tribute I am repeating them below.

November Black Raincoat by Sam Haskins 07

November Girl Bare Light 01

November and Horse by Sam Haskins

November Girl Church Towers by Sam Haskins

November Dance by Sam Haskins

November and Portrait by Sam Haskins

November Girl by Sam Haskins Black Raincoat 05

November Cape Docks by Sam Haskins


Sam Haskins – Still Life Photographs – a new blog series

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Sam’s core artistic signature was built around shooting a model in the studio. While he mastered many forms of photography the studio was his natural environment, a place where he could exercise infinite control and experiment with the same shot over several days. ‘Still life’ fitted naturally into this mode of working and he produced many still life assignments for clients as well as his own creative projects. I have always felt that the long history of still life images in Sam’s books and other creative projects tend to be overlooked by editors and this blog series will seek to jog memories and celebrate Sam’s love of collecting, design, creative lighting, model making, set building and from time-to-time, an urge to make his still lives move! Above all still life is a love of the poignant silent dialogue between objects, shapes, light. From the very first artistic explorations of his childhood up to the week before his death Sam took an instinctive delight in juxtaposition, in making the assembly greater than the sum of its parts.

To the extent that there are strict ‘rules’ about what constitutes genuine ‘still life’ studies you will find them liberally broken in this series. Very often still lives or photographs of a single object were used by Sam as montage elements or the second image in a diptych/double page spread. I will also be including examples with live models where the image composition includes a direct homage to traditional still life or at least tips its hat at still life thinking.

Many of the objects in Sam’s photographs – with the obvious exception of ‘African Image’ were made by Sam or owned by him. He had a very Victorian collecting sensibility and the collection of art, crafts, furniture, Victoriana, toys and graphic icons acquired over 60 years with his wife Alida – who has a very keen stylist’s eye – often appeared in his images.

The series starts appropriately with the still lives and related shots from ‘Cowboy Kate’.

Cowboy Kate Daisies Sam Haskins

Jailers Keys Cowboy Kate Sam Haskins

Kate in Jail Cowboy Kate Sam Haskins

Kate Jail Cowboy Kate Sam Haskins

Saloon gunshot Cowboy Kate Sam Haskins

The ‘swinging’ lamp was actually moved to three positions – during a long exposure – by an assistant using a black pole tied to the lamp.

Saloon Lamp Cowboy Kate Sam Haskins

Kate s Desk Cowboy Kate Sam Haskins

The long exposure used for the shot of ‘Kate’s Desk’ used candle light for fill-in. This is, in my view, probably the greatest still-life of Sam’s career.