John Rawlings: 30 years in Vogue

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Arena Editions, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 266 pages
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John Rawlings (1912-1970) was one of the most prolific photographers of the twentieth century, with more than 200 Vogue and Glamour covers to his credit, as well as an extensive roster of commercial ad campaigns. Rawlings's work, perhaps more than that of any other mid-century American fashion photographer, distinguishes itself as a veritable time capsule from the era in which American fashion and American style truly came into their own.

Rawlings's career as a photographer began in 1936, when he was hired by the Vogue studios as an apprenticed assistant, working alongside many of the now-legendary figures of photographic history -- among them George Hoyningen-Huene, Cecil Beaton, Horst P. Horst, and Irving Penn. Though Rawlings's early work for Conde Nast clearly draws on his pronounced admiration for Hoyningen-Huene, George Platt Lynes, and Horst, by the late 1940s he was experimenting with the compositional use of mirrors and reflective surfaces, as well as the effect of combined natural and artificial light. These creative inquiries would eventually lead the young American in an entirely new and liberating direction.

During a three-decade affiliation with Conde Nast, Rawlings photographed nearly every stage, screen, and society star of the 1940s and 1950s, including Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Montgomery Clift, Millicent Rogers, the Duchess of Windsor, Lauren Bacall, Truman Capote, Pavel Tchelitchev, Gene Tierney, Mona Bismark, Salvador Dali, Babe Paley, and Veronica Lake, to name but a few.

Drawing on the photographer's recently rediscovered personal archive, which was crated and put into storage at the time of Rawlings's death in 1970, curator and historian KohleYohannan delivers a long overdue tribute to one of the most prescient and indeed most quintes

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John Rawlings: 30 years in Vogue

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This stunning collection of the work of Vogue photographer John Rawlings (1912-70) offers an unintended historical message: the Thirties could look modern, the Forties were not all black and white ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Yohannan is an art and design historian who teaches at the Parsons School of Design in New York City.