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Fashions of the Times
Georges Dambier
Who’s That Girl
Georges Dambier, “Girl in Red”, 1957

On view at Bonni Benrubi is a show of fashion photographer Georges Dambier’s work from the 1950’s.

Not one of the great photographic names of the era and probably not the pioneer of outdoor fashion photography the press release claims, Dambier is distinguished by the quality of his models. He seems to have worked with all the big stars of the time, from Suzy Parker to Dorian Leigh. Looking at these ladies in their prime one cannot but admire the studied perfection of their style, a style embodied in cinema by the exquisite Audrey Hepburn. Quite possibly the last great era of high fashion, the 50’s possessed a post-war elan and elegance arguably lost in succeeding generations.

Be that as it may, in photos like Girl in Red we can trace the clean lines of the 50’s look. And in Marie Helene and the Red Fish we can see Dambier’s version of the fashion-on-the-street genre done in reportial black and white. Both likably competent images, neither rising above the general work of the time.

 by unidentified photographer.
Georges Dambier, “Marie-Helene et la Poisson Rouge, Paris”, 1957

And, in fact, this show is more interesting for what it tells us about the period and its values, than for the photography itself. Picture after picture reminds you of other people’s work, notably that of Avedon and Penn, who frequently used the same motifs to better effect. It is, therefore, a perfect essay on the difference between competence and greatness. A distinguished photographer, Dambier somehow lacked the spark that illuminated the work of his two great rivals, throwing into high relief the entire question of what makes for brilliance in photography.

Georges Dambier
Who’s That Girl


Bonni Benrubi
41 E 57th St. 13th Fl
Midtown         Map

212 888 6007
bonnibenrubi.com

Thursday, March 24 to
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Hours: Tues - Sat, 10 - 6
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The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
Central Booking Magazine
Soho Photo Gallery