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Fashioning Celebrity

Photographs of George Platt Lynes

January 11, 2005 – April 3, 2005

"Fashioning Celebrity: Photographs of George Platt Lynes" features images of one of the most significant photographers of celebrity and style in America.

American photographer Lynes (1907-1955) gained fame in the 1930s and 1940s as the most notable and successful photographer of fashion. His work prefigured and influenced the next generation of celebrity and fashion photographers such as Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Bert Stern.

The exhibition "Fashioning Celebrity" contains a representation of most genres of Lynes's work: portrait, fashion, nude and theatrical photography. Some of Lynes's notable subjects included Jean Cocteau, Diana Vreeland, Katherine Hepburn, Rosalind Russell and the American Ballet Company, now the New York City Ballet.

The Ransom Center's collection of Lynes's work was donated by Dora Maxwell [Harrison], Lynes's assistant from 1936-1944.

Before she married, Harrison was studio manager and photographer's assistant during the critical years when Lynes helped establish a new dynamic in fashion and portraiture for the New York City elite and such influential American magazines as Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and Town & Country.

Harrison's donation of more than 100 photographs incorporates examples from all of Lynes's oeuvre. The collection is especially important because it provides a unique glimpse into the working relationship between a photographer and his assistant.

Harrison printed several of the photographs for Lynes, and many of the proof prints include Lynes's original marks, either denoting his approval of the final print or signifying areas that needed reprinting or retouching. These work photos, together with the final professional studio prints, help the exhibition reveal the photographer's creativity and the workings of his studio.