Posts Tagged ‘Sixties’

graniph t-shirts featuring images by Sam Haskins

Friday, April 27th, 2012

graniph x Sam Haskins

graniph are Japan’s leading design t-shirt store and web site. Today, for the first time, they are launching seven designs featuring a selection of classic Sam Haskins images. A unique combination of Sam’s groundbreaking 60s photography, the latest digital fabric printing and affordable prices. ¥2,500 each (roughly: US$31:00, €23:00, £19.00) Free delivery worldwide with four t-shirts or more. In-store buyers get a discount for buying two designs from the same range. Beautiful and accessible – these are good enough to frame as art! English language site

The press release for this project can be downloaded here in Japanese or in English.

graniph x Sam Haskins



一枚¥2,500(およそ US$31.00, €23.00, £19.00)




November Girl with Birds T by Sam Haskins

Graniph x Sam Haskins illo 03 crop

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Graniph x Sam Haskins illo 01 crop

Sam and Figgins by Sam Haskins 1961

Graniph x Sam Haskins img 01

Graniph x Sam Haskins img 03

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Graniph x Sam Haskins img 05

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Fun in Bavaria

Monday, June 16th, 2008

In the mid sixties there came an invitation from Twen magazine to fly to Munich where I would work with the legendary Willy Fleckhaus, editor/art director/typographer and co-founder of the publication.

At the airport to meet my plane from Africa was non other than the graphic genius himself – the man responsible for moulding the journal that defined the sixties and eclipsed all competition.

On our way to the editorial offices I was told that the main feature would be a comparison between traditional Bavarian costume and Sixties fashion. That was more or less it. Oh, also that Mr. Fleckhaus would not be present at the shoot. I was to art direct it myself. This trip turned out to be full of pleasant surprises but the best was still to come.

On the morning of the first shoot my driver told me that the studio was located a little North of Munich. While motoring through snow covered fields I was trying to visualise what the studio of such a cutting edge magazine might look like. When we pulled up outside a nineteenth century Bavarian farmhouse I was still wondering but soon all was revealed. The ground floor contained stables that served as winter quarters for the farmer’s cattle. We were greeted with friendly cow sounds and a smiling farmer’s wife proffering hot scones and coffee. She then took us to one of the stables that housed not cows, but paraphernalia for making photographs. An abundance of wonderful clothes, playful models and a welcoming visit from the magazine’s star photographer, Will Mc Bride, made my days in the stable quite memorable.

The black and white spreads tells a little story of how I discovered the student Ginny, daughter of a Westpoint-officer father stationed with the American forces in Germany and a Viennese aristocrat mother. We were strolling in the Brienner Strasse when I said “hello, will you model for me please?”

To read more about Willy Fleckhaus – see these links: The Art Director’s Hall of Fame and a site dedicated to his typography and the Namen der Kunst biography.

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George Lois – Inventor of “The Big Idea”

Monday, April 28th, 2008

George Lois was featured in this weekend's NYT. With my long career in advertising and photography, reading about the giants of the industry often brings back memories of stories or incidents. Very often the stories have their origins in that most extraordinary of decades, the sixties. Here is a cover (scanned from the copy in my library) of his book called 'Covering the Sixties'.


My wife Alida was on a visit to New York in 1967 to sell my book 'African Image' to our publishers. While there, she met George Lois, a giant figure in the design and advertising world. Living in Johannesburg at the time, we were exposed to his work mainly through the iconic covers he produced for Esquire Magazine. George told Alida about his love of African Art and the slide show about him in the NYT opens with a portrait of him sitting in front of pieces from his collection. He lamented to her that he still didn't own an African pot because they were mostly fired at low temperatures and all too often arrived in the States broken. Art shipping methods have improved somewhat since the 60s but it is not uncommon to see African pots in collections that have been carefully repaired, like the piece in the image below.


Alida remembered that some of my Tungsten Lights had arrived in boxes that were cleverly designed to protect the contents by suspending one box inside another with strong rubber bands in each corner. So we sent George a pot, almost identical to the one in my photograph below, and it duly reached him in NY, totally undamaged.


George has brought out a new book in collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger, a visual celebration of American graphic culture called 'Iconic America'.

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V Magazine October 2006

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

In October 2006 V Magazine published a piece that coincided with the publication of the new edition of Kate. Here is the double page spread plus enlargements of the small images on the right and further on, the full text of the article.


Apple Dance 1972

Soaring Spirit 1966

Run Lindi Run 1980


When Cowboy Kate, “white as flowers, warm as sunshine, wild as whiskey and swinging like a lamp;’ first came to town in 1964, she swooped up the Prix Nadar and a million adoring fans. It was a defining moment, not only for the ’60s sensibility, but also in the history of photography. The heroine of photographer Sam Haskins’s eponymous book (which includes three additional photo-essays that comprise the (Other Stories of the subtitle) is a sassy blonde who wears a gun on her hip, a hat on her head, and not a whole heck of a lot else. Haskins, a native of South Africa, was reared on Hollywood Westerns, circus magic (he worked for a time as a trapeze catcher), and the work of Cartier-Bresson, Penn, and Brassai. Kate’s beautifully art-directed misadventure (Haskins also designed the layouts) is an act of true and original showmanship. Haskins hasn’t stopped shooting since-including some thirty years’ worth of Pentax calendars (Pirelli, eat your heart out). On the eve of his 80th birthday, Kate returns to town in a new director’s cut of the book, published by Rizzoli.

Alix Browne (V Magazine)

ALiX BROWNE What made you want to travel to London in the ’40s to study photography?
The visual awareness that has always been with me. It inevitably led to a course at art school. The late ’30s and ’40s were the years that pioneered documentary photo books and magazines, and they made a powerful impression on me. I had an early realization that photography as a profession could satisfy my yearning to get about and see the world, meet the people, create images, and enjoy a lifestyle provided by very few professions. For a young colonial artist, London was a glittering cultural mecca. You dreamed about its wonders from a tender age, and you could not wait to experience it. The city also had good photography schools, which did not exist in South Africa at the time.

AB Who were some of the photographers shooting at that time whose work interested you?
Irving Penn, Edward Weston, Cartier-Bresson, Steichen, Robert Doisneau, Brassai, etc. However, the more profound stimuli probably came from painters, sculptors, illustrators, designers, and filmmakers.

AB When you moved back to Johannesburg to start your own studio, what kind of work were you doing?
On my return to SA,I met and married Alida. That was the end of my solo act. We have been partners in crime ever since. We were young and not very well-off, so we photographed babies, weddings, portraits, architecture, all manner of merchandise and people for advertising, industrial images for annual reports, fashion, surgical procedures, aerial, reportage, film commercials-maybe there are a few that I do not remember. Advertising seldom results in images with lasting quality. The more interesting work was provided by the mining houses for use in their annual reports. The de Beers organization produced an in-house journal, Optima, managed by a brilliant young poet who gave me unlimited creative opportunities.

AB Did you consider yourself a photographer? An art director? Or do labels like that not interest you?
I like to think of myself as a graphic artist who uses photography as his medium. And an art director. And a storyteller. And a lover of good red wine and the music of Beethoven.

AB What was the climate-aesthetic, social, political-underwhich you created Cowboy Kate?
The universal language emanating from Hollywood is obvious. The stock paraphernalia associated with Westerns are particular favorites of mine, and I manipulated them to tell a little story. Cowboy Kate followed my first book, Five Girls, a straightforward collection of individual images. I didn’t want the new book to be just another dreary progression-it had to make a quantum leap, hence the narrative form. The book developed from a single experimental shoot (with the cowboy hat) that the model and I did to amuse ourselves.

AB Who are the women you photographed? In particular, who is Kate and where did you find her?
The original Kate is a model/friend who prefers to remain anonymous. She was a rarity in that she was very enthusiastic in pursuing modeling as her particular form of self-expression. The original two or three shoots were done without a story in mind. But “Kate” went abroad before I planned the book, so I had to resort to stand-in models to fill the gaps-five in all. The beauty is of a natural, noncommercial kind that did not rely on the extensive use of what is currently known as “hair and makeup:’ These were early days, and ancillary services were rare. The models, Alida, and I all joined in to make slight improvements. Orthodontics was still in its infancy.

AB You used a lot of different techniques-and cameras-to achieve all of the visual effects. Was part of the exercise for you experimental, in terms of both the images and the layout?
Those were experimental times. So yes – small cameras for mobility, large ones to capture fine detail. Smaller formats facilitated prominent grain size. I am inclined to think that the controlled, creative use of grain made its first appearance in Kate. Willy Fleckhaus and Alexey Brodovitch have always been two of my prime heroes, so the art of layout is very close to my heart. After all, together with the mechanical reproduction, it constitutes the culmination of the whole process – not to be entrusted to nonbelievers who are able to destroy the impact of an image at a stroke. In my day-to-day work, I hate to miss out on the layout stage.

AB Cowboy Kate has near cult status today. How was the book received upon its publication?
The reception was a party. A tumultuous welcome. Timing had a lot to do with it. The books walked out of the stores. Virtually every photographic journal in the world printed a review. Copies were smuggled into Soviet-occupied East Germany and passed on from hand to hand. Divorcing couples fought over possession.

AB What was the prevailing attitude about nudity at the time? How did people react to your portrayal of innocence?
Ambivalence, is probably the key word. I do not think that it made the top of the charts in rural backwaters, but in the more erudite international centers it is loved and cherished. In the midst of the emergence of strident feminism, it had more female than male fans. Still has.

AB On the inside back cover, it says that whenever you lecture on photography, your radical views spark off such a furor that you have to escape through a side door.
This smacks of publisher’s hyperbole. As a rule I’m able to fight off my attackers – more hyperbole. Most lectures and workshops are happy happenings. The occasional show-off attempting to draw attention to himself only manages to provide some general comic relief. My views naturally evolve, but basic principles remain pretty much unchanged.

AB What made you decide to release a “director’s cut” of the book? How does the new edition add to the legend?
It would be so utterly boring to release a facsimile of the original. Something a drone could do. At the moment of completion, most artists feel that they could have done better. What a wonderful opportunity this was to do some tweaking and add new images, to prove that I am not stuck in the ’60s.

AB What do you think is Kate’s legacy? What does she have to say to a contemporary audience?
I hate to sound presumptuous. So all that Kate and I would like to say is “Hey, kids. Look what we did way back in the ’60s.”

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