American Photo Pays Tribute to Lillian Bassman, Humors Nigel Barker

amphoto 08.jpgIf you can manage to get past American Photo‘s cringeworthy September/October cover shot (pictured at left)—a self-portrait in which Tyra’s favorite “noted fashion photographer” Nigel Barker imagines himself as a shutter release-clutching James Bond flanked by girls in bikinis—the magazine’s fashion-themed issue holds some intriguing surprises (so intriguing that we can forgive their confusing of America’s Next Top Model with Project Runway in a piece about the rising stars of fashion reality TV).

lillian bassman.jpgWriter James Crump pens a profile of Lillian Bassman (pictured at right), a protegee of Harper’s Bazaar art director extraordinaire Alexey Brodovitch who began shooting couture in Paris in the early 1950s and is still at work in her darkroom today. But she’s not brimming with praise for her mentor:

“He was a monster, really,” she admits, recalling a poster she designed for the Museum of Modern Art that Brodovitch took complete credit for. Yet she also insists the two had “complete sympathy for each other’s tastes and sensibilities.”

Elsewhere in the issue, American Photo selects its fashion images of the year, including Paolo Roversi’s thrilling “Bag Lady” portfolio for W‘s April issue, and gets the inside scoop on how photographic team Markus Klinko and Indrani created a post-apocalyptic world for V magazine: it involved two perfectly aligned frames shot with a Fujifilm GX680 medium-format SLR, an abandoned Palm Springs military base, and a lone male model found at a nearby supermarket.