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.
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.