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Melvin Sokolsky
Melvin Sokolsky

Melvin Sokolsky

Country: United States
Birth: 1933

Melvin Sokolsky is an American photographer and film director. Born in New York City in 1933, Sokolsky was raised on the Lower East Side. He had no formal training in photography, but started to use his father's box camera at about the age of ten. Always analytical, he started to realize the role that emulsion played as he compared his own photographs with those his father had kept in albums through the years. "I could never make my photographs of Butch the dog look like the pearly finish of my father's prints, and it was then that I realized the importance of the emulsion of the day."

Around 1954, Sokolsky met Robert Denning, who at the time worked with photographer Edgar de Evia, at an East Side gym. "I discovered that Edgar was paid $4000 for a Jell-O ad, and the idea of escaping from my tenement dwelling became an incredible dream and inspiration."

Whether floating models down the Seine in a bubble, or shrinking his subjects, Alice-like, to miniature heights, Melvin Sokolsky helped to pioneer illusory fashion photography long before the age of digital enhancement took hold. Though he is best known for his editorial fashion photographs for publications such as Harper's Bazaar (for which he produced, in 1963, the Bubble series of photographs depicting fashion models “floating” in giant clear plastic bubbles suspended in midair above the River Seine in Paris), Vogue, and The New York Times, Sokolsky’s work is not limited to that field.

Three quarters of his print photography has been for advertising, which does not usually carry a byline. As Sokolsky said in an interview: “I resented the attitude that ‘This is editorial and this is advertising. I always felt, why dilute it? Why not always go for the full shot?” Toward the end of the 1960s, Sokolsky worked as both commercial director and cameraman. He did not, however, abandon the world of print photography; in 1972 he was asked to photograph the entire editorial content of McCall's Magazine, a first for any photographer.

Source: Wikipedia


Melvin Sokolsky was born and raised in New York City where he started his distinguished career as a stills photographer. At the age of twenty-one he was invited to join the staff of Harper's Bazaar. Within the next few years he worked as a major contributor to four prestigious magazines: Esquire, McCall's, Newsweek, and Show. His photographs of internationally famous personalities have appeared in many of the major museums and magazines worldwide.

In 1962, Sokolsky photographed the entire editorial content of McCall's Magazine, a first in its time. He is best known of his infusion of surrealism in his fashion photography, with his iconic series of women encased in plastic bubbles, floating around various cityscapes.

In 1964, Sokolsky was invited by the School of Visual Arts in New York to teach a special class at his studio in New York. In 1969, Sokolsky embarked on a new career in television commercials as director/cameraman. Sokolsky has been honored with twenty-five Clio Awards, and is the recipient of every major television commercial award including the coveted "Directors Guild" nomination. Many of Sokolsky's commercials are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

In 1972, Sokolsky versed in all phases of special effects and cinematography, presented a computerized zoom lens that he designed to the Academy of Arts and Sciences. The system was subsequently nominated for an Academy Award. 1975, Sokolsky was invited by the Japanese Graphic Society to lecture in Tokyo and Kyoto, and was subsequently named Honorary Professor of Photography.

In 1986, the Victoria and Albert Museum installed an exhibition of photographs called Shots of Style, a retrospective of the worlds major fashion photographers. The Victoria & Albert included Sokolsky's photographs in the exhibit, and subsequently placed many of them in their permanent collection. In 1991, the Victoria and Albert Museum mounted a show called Appearances, that is slated to travel around the world.

Source: www.sokolsky.com


 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

JB Russell
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Born in Long Beach, California in 1961, J.B. Russell is a Paris-based documentary photographer, filmmaker and educator. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology and Geography and working for two years as a geologist, J.B. decided to take a year or two off to pursue a passion for photography and to satisfy a genetic predisposition for wanderlust. Once on the road however, he never looked back. He has worked extensively throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America focusing on current events, the human consequences of conflict, human rights, the environment and development issues. His work appears regularly in major print and on-line publications worldwide, including: Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, French GEO, Paris Match, Le Monde, Stern, Der Spiegel, Corriere della Sera magazine, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, El Mondo magazine and many more. J.B. collaborates frequently with international humanitarian organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, Save The Children, Mines Advisory Group, The Global Fund and others to produce images, video and written material on critical humanitarian issues for their communication needs. His work has received numerous accolades, including the Public Prize at the Bayeux War Correspondents Competition, 1st place in the News Picture Story category of the POYi competition, his images have been selected on multiple occasions for the American Photography anthology, he received the Saint Brieuc Photoreporter Grant and his work has been exhibited and frequently featured at Visa Pour L'Image in Perpignan, France, among many other festivals and venues. J.B.'s career has spanned the transition from analogue to digital photography and the profound changes that the Internet and Social Media have had on journalism and the press. He believes that honest, engaged journalism remains crucial to public information in today's media landscape. J.B produces independent documentary photography and video projects, embracing diverse story-telling forms and platforms. He is a dedicated teacher of photography, teaching and speaking regularly in diverse university programs, workshops and photography courses. J.B. Russell is member of the Panos Pictures Agency and a core member of the Instagram collective #EverydayClimateChange.
Gordon Parks
United States
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Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) was an American photographer, musician, writer and film director. He is best remembered for his photographic essays for Life magazine and as the director of the 1971 film, Shaft.At the age of twenty-five, Parks was struck by photographs of migrant workers in a magazine and bought his first camera, a Voigtländer Brillant, for $12.50 at a Seattle, Washington, pawnshop. The photography clerks who developed Parks' first roll of film, applauded his work and prompted him to seek a fashion assignment at a women's clothing store in St. Paul, Minnesota, that was owned by Frank Murphy. Those photographs caught the eye of Marva Louis, the elegant wife of heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis. She encouraged Parks to move to Chicago in 1940, where he began a portrait business and specialized in photographs of society women. 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Avarino Caracò
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Thomas Barbèy
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