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May 24, 2020

The Faces: Stunning Portrait Photography by Melvin Sokolsky in the 1960s

Born 1933 in New York City, American photographer and film director Melvin Sokolsky had no formal training in photography, but started to use his father's box camera at about the age of ten.

Portrait photography by Melvin Sokolsky in the 1960s

Around 1954, Sokolsky met Robert Denning, who at the time worked with photographer Edgar de Evia, at an East Side gym. “I discovered that Edgar was paid $4000 for a Jell-O ad, and the idea of escaping from my tenement dwelling became an incredible dream and inspiration.”

Though he is best known for his editorial fashion photographs for publications such as Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, and The New York Times, Sokolsky’s work is not limited to that field. Three quarters of his print photography has been for advertising, which does not usually carry a byline. As Sokolsky said in an interview: “I resented the attitude that ‘This is editorial and this is advertising’. I always felt, why dilute it? Why not always go for the full shot?”

Toward the end of the 1960s, Sokolsky worked as both commercial director and cameraman. He did not, however, abandon the world of print photography; in 1972, he was asked to photograph the entire editorial content of McCall's magazine, a first for any photographer.

These stunning photos are part of his work that Sokolsky took portraits of classic beauties from the 1960s.

 Isabella, Match, New York, by Melvin Sokolsky, 1960

Simone d'Aillencourt by Melvin Sokolsky, July 4, 1960

Simone d'Aillencourt by Melvin Sokolsky, Muir Woods, Marin County, California 1960

Simone d'Aillencourt, bare bulb, screen, by Melvin Sokolsky, Harper's Bazaar, 1960

Ivy Nicholson by Melvin Sokolsky, 1961

Kouka Denis is wearing a feathered hat by Canessa at Bonwit Teller, make-up by Revlon, photo by Melvin Sokolsky, Harper's Bazaar, June 1961

Antonia wears a curtain of beads hung as if dew-dropped with pearls by Christianella of Florence, make-up by Revlon, photo by Melvin Sokolsky, Harper's Bazaar, December 1962

Christine Kaufmann by Melvin Sokolsky, cover of Show, 1962

Kouka Denis by Melvin Sokolsky, Harper's Bazaar, 1962

Mia Farrow by Melvin Sokolsky, 1962

Natalie Wood by Melvin Sokolsky, Show cover, 1962

Angela Howard as ‘Ariadne’, coiffure by Enny of Italy, photo by Melvin Sokolsky, Harper's Bazaar, April 1964

Angela Howard as ‘Venus’, make-up by Fabergé, photo by Melvin Sokolsky, Harper's Bazaar, April 1964

Benedetta Barzini by Melvin Sokolsky, 1964

Deborah Dixon as ‘Aurora’, make-up by Max Factor, photo by Melvin Sokolsky, Harper's Bazaar, April 1964

Jean Shrimpton by Melvin Sokolsky, Harper's Bazaar, 1964

Tilly Tizzani as ‘Diana’, make-up by Germaine Monteil, photo by Melvin Sokolsky, Harper's Bazaar, April 1964

Tilly Tizzani by Melvin Sokolsky, Harper's Bazaar, March 1964

Veronica Hamel by Melvin Sokolsky, Harper's Bazaar, 1964

Donna Mitchell by Melvin Sokolsky, 1965

For Mitsouko perfume by Guerlain ad, photo by Melvin Sokolsky, 1965

Lips by Melvin Sokolsky, 1965

Paula Pritchett by Melvin Sokolsky, 1965

Twiggy, Radio City Music Hall, photo by Melvin Sokolsky, 1966

Dorothea and Nati Abascal by Melvin Sokolsky, 1967

Twiggy by Melvin Sokolsky, Harper's Bazaar, 1967

Tilly Tizzani by Melvin Sokolsky, circa 1960s

Yvette Mimieux by Melvin Sokolsky, circa 1960s

(Photo © Melvin Sokolsky)

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