The celebrated British photographer liberated nude photography from cliché with his seminal trilogy ‘Five Girls’ (1962), ‘Cowboy Kate’ (1964) and ‘November Girl’ (1967). Haskins infused his black and white work with a combination of photographic genius and the sexual freedom of the sixties, which he helped to define. The signature style of those images combined finely crafted photography with liberating natural confidence in a girl-next-door beauty. Sam often worked with friends or models recruited off the street – creating iconic images with unknown faces.
Included in the V&M Featured Sale are images from Cowboy Kate, inspired by the Old West. Cowboy Kate, which sold more than one million
copies, was cited by GQ as “one of the most recognizable and most referenced photographic books ever published.” (In 2009, Tom Munro styled Madonna as Cowboy Kate for an Elle magazine shoot.)
Haskins was a perfectionist: he sketched concepts, built sets, applied models’ make-up and created silver prints in his darkroom—very often working alone.
At age 75 Haskins was “re-discovered” by the fashion industry, and over the next five years his photos appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Allure and other top publications. Even after his death in 2009, Haskins’ influence and historical significance is stronger than ever.
Sam Haskins is one of the most influential photographers of the 1960’s and 1970’s but often fails to get the explicit recognition he deserves (except within the professional worlds of fashion, photography and advertising where his name is revered). His work is continually referenced by countless photographers, illustrators, book designers, artists and fashion designers because his singular vision transcends genres and categories. His photographs are, simply put, beautiful. He was a photographer of the highest order, one whose enigmatic approach to process and design informed the entire body of his work. With the release of seminal photography books such as Five Girls (1962), Cowboy Kate (1964), November Girl (1967), African Image (1967) and Haskins Posters (1972), Haskins was able to carve out a unique niche within the history of photography.
Since his passing in 2009, Haskins is, to a greater extent, acquiring his deserved place in history as a unique contributor to the evolution of post war 20th century photography. With an entire new generation of fans there is no doubt Sam Haskins’ work will continue to gain appreciation and value in the art market. The fact that he died with virtually all his vintage prints unsigned makes the small quantity of superb quality signed pigment prints available through V&M all the more special.