In 2013, the world lost one of its most keen eyes and talented people behind the lens in Deborah Turbeville. She was a savant in the world of fashion photography and influenced countless people the followed. Deborah Bell Photographs will celebrate the holidays with a retrospective of Turbeville’s work.
Turbeville is known for her iconoclastic fashion photographs, elaborate tableaux that depict brooding, introspective models wearing haute-couture clothing and posed in barren, desolate settings. Her pictures were widely published in the editorial pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Essence, Nova, Mirabella, The New York Times Magazine, and other major publications. Advertising clients included Comme des Garçons, Ralph Lauren, Valentino and Calvin Klein; and department stores such as Barney’s, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. A former fashion editor for the The Ladies Home Journal, Harper’s Bazaar and Mademoiselle, Turbeville began taking photographs in the 1960s; however, she had no formal training until 1966 when she enrolled in a six-month photography workshop given by Richard Avedon and the art director Marvin Israel. As Turbeville told The New York Times in 1981, “If it hadn’t been for the two of them, I wouldn’t have taken my photography seriously.” Another mentor was Gösta Peterson whose free-form approach with animated models greatly inspired Turbeville. She also acknowledged the influence of European films of the 1970s, especially those by Bertolucci and Antonioni.
Turbeville was not only prolific and internationally published as an image-maker, but was also a maverick printmaker. She used unusual papers, experimented with toning and alternative processes, and intentionally scratched her negatives. Never in search of the pristine object, she strove instead for imperfection and a sense of timelessness. She often constructed collages of photographs that are either pinned or taped to hand-made paper, imbuing the works with a sense of decay and enabling their deterioration. Throughout her career Turbeville traveled widely and concentrated on many themes in addition to fashion. The many books she published from her œuvre include Wallflower (1978); Women on Women (1979); Unseen Versailles (1982); Les amoureuses du temps passé (1987); Newport Remembered with Louis Auchincloss (1994); Studio St. Petersburg (1997); Le passé imparfait (2009); Casa No Name (2009); and Deborah Turbeville: The Fashion Pictures (2011).
The exhibit will conclude on January 28th, 2017.
For More Information: Deborah Bell Photographs