Bassmans dream-like work of models in private settings appeared in the best magazines of the 1940s and 50s before almost completely disappearing from view. Weary of the industry, the photographer destroyed most of her negatives and misplaced the rest in the late 60s.
Unearthing the remaining negatives from forgotten bin bags in her garage in the 90s brought Bassman her second heyday. As audiences rediscovered her x-ray-like images of models in quiet moments, Bassman re-printed some of her magazine work and took on new commercial contracts. Over the past two years, Bassman has exhibited photographs in New York and London.
Bassman's vision carries the emotion of womanhood, rather than just the visual image of it, Jules Wright, founder of The Wapping Project and curator of a Bassman show at Donna Karans London boutique.
When she photographed lingerie, the viewer was invited into the intimate serenity of the dressing room and the photo was not about an undergarment, it was about the introspective moment before a woman is finally dressed.
Bassman regarded her status as a woman photographer, rare in the era of Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, as an asset.
The models thought about this a lot, she told the New York Times. It was a sexually very different thing when they worked with men. They felt a charge. They were posing for men. I caught them when they were relaxed, natural, and I spent a lot of time talking to them about their husbands, their lovers, their babies.More