Sam Haskins, was a British photographer, born and raised in South Africa. He started his career in Johannesburg and moved to London in 1968. Haskins is best known for his contribution to in-camera image montage, Haskins Posters
(1973) and the 1960's figure photography trilogy Five Girls
(1962), Cowboy Kate & Other Stories
(1964) and November Girl
(1967), plus an ode to sub-Saharan tribal Africa African Image
Cowboy Kate & Other Stories
was probably the first book to deliberately explore black-and-white photographic grain as a medium for expression and image design. It was highly influential at the time, sold roughly a million copies worldwide and won the Prix Nadar in France in 1964. It continues to influence contemporary photographers, filmmakers, fashion designers, and make-up artists. Cowboy Kate & Other Stories
or 'Kate' as the book is often referred to, had its place in photographic history cemented in 2005 when the International Center of Photography
in New York included the book in their exhibition The Open Book: A History of the Photographic Book from 1878 to the Present
contained key image collages which formed the basis of many graphic and surrealist experiments in the 1970s and 1980s. African Image
was a visual homage to the indigenous people, culture, landscape and wildlife of sub-Saharan Africa. The images represent a lifelong interest in photographing graphically stimulating environments and formally document his passion for the indigenous craft. He broke bones on river rapids and wrote off two Volvo saloon cars on African dirt roads while shooting the book. Despite its international award, this meticulously constructed book, celebrating a love for sub-Saharan Africa, is probably the least known of his major creative projects, but it is coveted by serious collectors of African art and photography.
In 1968, Haskins moved to London and ran a studio in Glebe Place just off the King's Road. He worked as an advertising photographer for international consumer brands Asahi Pentax, Bacardi, Cutty Sark whisky, Honda, BMW, Haig whisky, DeBeers, British Airways, Unilever and Zanders, and specialised in the art direction and shooting of calendars, especially for Asahi Pentax in Japan. Although he endorsed Hasselblad for a short period in the late 1960s and early 1970s, his loyalty to the medium format 6x7 camera and lenses from Asahi resulted in a rare long-term association between a camera manufacturer and photographer. From 1970 to 2000, Asahi Optical (later Pentax) produced 30 calendars, of which Haskins shot and art-directed 15 editions including the millennium calendar. No other photographer was invited to contribute more than once. He is still involved with the Pentax Forum Gallery in Tokyo, which hosts his exhibitions. His first contact came in 1967, when Asahi Optical presented him with a 35 mm camera after hearing that he had shot African Image with various competitors' products.
In 1972, he produced his first colour book, Haskins Posters
. The large-format publication contained pages printed on one side using thick stiff paper and a soft glue perfect binding allowing the pages to be removed and used as posters. Haskins and Alida successfully published the book internationally through their own company, Haskins Press. The book won a gold award at the New York One Show. At the time the best-known image from Haskins Posters, a girl's face superimposed on an apple with a bee near the stem, appeared on the cover or in editorials of almost every major photographic magazine around the world. This image was part of a well-publicised visual and graphic experimentation with the apple theme in the 1970s that for a while resulted in photographic journalists nicknaming him 'Sam the Apple man'.
He suffered a stroke on 19 September 2009 the opening day of his exhibition to launch Fashion Etcetera
at Milk Gallery in New York, and died at home in Bowral, Australia, nine weeks later.