From the archive. Sam mastered many genres of photography but his defining creative signature was simply working with a good model in the studio – often with found props and improvising freely. He was always prepared to take risks and make mistakes in the pursuit of magic. The model is ‘Cowboy Kate’. I spotted these shots when we were working on ‘Fashion Etcetera’ and petitioned to have one included in the book.
It’s become something of an annual tradition in Japan, each year someone produces a Sam Haskins t-shirt. They are beautifully printed on excellent cotton. This year Tsuyoshi Noguchi has styled the cover shot from Sam’s book ‘Haskins Posters’ onto two versions for Traverse Tokyo. Links here and here.
Below is the original shot as reproduced in ‘Fashion Etcetera’, the cover of Haskins Posters and a cover of British Journal of Photography BJP in the year of publication, 1972.
The last time Sam stood behind a camera (in a professional capacity) was December 2006 in Sydney for Harper’s Bazaar Australia’s Spring 2007 10th anniversary issue. It was less than a month after his 80th’s birthday. After this he launched into the ‘Fashion Etcetera’ project which launched in 2009.
Apart from anything else this shoot was also a master class in lighting. Fortunately there was a young Australian assistant there who realised what he was witnessing. Christopher Ireland mentioned the shoot on his Facebook wall last week.
I had worked at the time with numerous international fashion photographers. Sam was by far the best – I was transfixed by his talent. It was a life changing moment and I often cite this moment when people ask me where I get my enthusiasm and passion.
*Sam was 80 not 82 on that shoot and it was 4 years ago.
Of course Sam was unhappy with the results. But the work speaks for itself. It was also the one and only time he worked with a digital camera on a professional shoot and he loved it.