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May 8, 2019

A Forgotten Photographer: Stunning Fashion Photography by William Helburn in the 1950s and 1960s

William (Bill) Helburn (b. 1924) is an American fashion photographer, and contemporary of Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Francesco Scavullo, and Lillian Bassman. He was at the top of his profession from the early 1950s through the 1960s, with bylined covers and editorial images in the pages of Harper's Bazaar, LIFE, McCall's, and many other magazines.

Classic beauties taken by William Helburn in the 1950s and 1960s

Helburn also worked extensively in advertising, contributing memorable pictures to campaigns designed by such legendary art directors as Gene Federico, Robert Gage, Helmut Krone, and George Lois.

Throughout his career Helburn strove to grab the viewer's attention, contextualizing his models in images that jumped off the page. Helburn's first work in photography came at the close of World War II, when he was part of the team that processed the first pictures of the atom bomb exploding over Hiroshima.

Inspired soon after by then-partner Ted Croner's encounter with model Lisa Fonssagrives posing naked on skis, Helburn entered the fashion world in 1947, shooting neophyte models like Grace Kelly and Tippi Hedren, while studying graphic design with legendary art director Alexey Brodovitch.

Helburn became a successful director of TV Commercials in the early 1980s. He left the industry a decade later to raise his children, and currently resides in New England.

These stunning photos are part of his work that Helburn shot famous beauties in the 1950s and 1960s.

Joanna McCormick, photo by William Helburn, 1951

Dorian Leigh, photo by William Helburn, 1955

Suzy Parker poses lying in a bed with white linens, cosmetic advertisement for Revlon, New York, circa 1955

'Dovima Under the El' ('Dior Creates Cosmopolitan Drama'), photo by William Helburn, 1956

Norman Norell and Dovima wearing his Roman-striped version of his famous sequin evening gown, photo by William Helburn, LIFE, October 8, 1956

Barbara Mullen poses in front of black Rolls-Royce with red canoe, photo by William Helburn, New York, 1957

Lucinda Hollingsworth in Supima Cotton ad, photo by William Helburn for Douglas Simon, off Westhampton Beach, New York, 1959

Broken Bulb, Deborah Dixon for Helene Curtis, photo by William Helburn for Altman-Stoller, 1960

Angela Howard, photo by William Helburn for Altman-Stoller, 1962

Suzy Parker, photo by William Helburn, Acapulco, Mexico, 1962

Anne de Zogheb and unidentified male at Julian’s Billiard Academy, New York, McCall’s, photo by William Helburn, March 1963

Unidentified model for hosiery advertisement, photo by William Helburn, 1963

'From the Famous Shirtmaker for Men,' Jean Shrimpton, Lady Van Heusen, 1964. For Altman, Stoller. Photograph by William Helburn

'If You Can’t Go South Go Borg,' Jean Shrimpton, Wall Street, Borgana, 1964. For Douglas Simon. Photograph by William Helburn

Jean Shrimpton poses in a Lady Van Heusen shirt-blouse, New York, circa 1964

Jean Shrimpton, photo by William Helburn, Westhampton, New York, 1964

Jean Shrimpton, photo by William Helburn, Westhampton, New York, 1964

Jean Shrimpton, photo by William Helburn, Westhampton, New York, 1964

Lauren Hutton, advertisement for John Begg Ltd., photo by William Helburn, circa 1964

Romana Swann for Supima Cotton, photo by William Helburn, Central Park, 1964

'Sea of Waves,' Deborah Dixon, Helene Curtis, 1960. For Altman, Stoller. Photograph by William Helburn

Angela Howard Helburn for White Owl cigar advertisement, photo by William Helburn, 1965

Angela Howard, photo by William Helburn, 1965

Camilla Sparv, photo by William Helburn, for Cover Girl Medicated Lipstick by Noxema ad campaign, 1965

Dorothea McGowan for White Owl advertisement, test shot, New York, photo by William Helburn, 1965

Angela Howard, photo by William Helburn, Texas Gas Transmission Corp., 1966

Joey Heatherton, photo by William Helburn, 1966

Sandra Hilton, Kayser-Roth, photo by William Helburn for Altman-Stoller, 1966

Agneta Darin and Kathy Haynes, photo by William Helburn, 1967

Jean Shrimpton, 'Bridesmaid', photo by William Helburn, 1967

Sharon Tate, photo by William Helburn, Esquire, 1967

Sunny Griffin, photo by William Helburn, Braniff Airways, 1967

Veronica Hamel, photo by William Helburn, 1967

Wilhelmina, Sharon Tate, Josephine Attominoff (the photographer's stylist) and Jean Shrimpton, photo by William Helburn, 1967

Angela Howard, photo by William Helburn, 1968

Cheryl Tiegs, 'Scotch' Hair Set Tape, 3M, photo by William Helburn, 1968

Jennifer O'Neill, photo by William Helburn, 1968

Nati Abascal, photo by William Helburn, 'The Fulfillment of Natividad Abascal', Esquire, February 1968

Samantha Jones in Monet Jewelry advertisement, photo by William Helburn, 1968

Samantha Jones, photo by William Helburn, 1968

Angela Howard Helburn in fashion editorial for McCall's, New York, circa 1960s

The 'Dresshirt' by lady Van Heusen, Lauren Hutton, photo by William Helburn for Altman-Stoller, circa 1960s

Beate Schulz poses in a pine wood for a fashion advertisement test shot, Miami Beach, 1969

Beate Schulz, Lipstick and Watermelon, photo by William Helburn, Miami, 1969

Model Sunny Griffin, photo by William Helburn, 1969




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