By  on January 24, 2006

NEW YORK — As curator of the Stellan Holm Gallery's Horst P. Horst exhibition, which bows Thursday, Sante D'Orazio would like visitors to gain respect for the fashion photographer whose artistic influence endures.

D'Orazio, a photographer in his own right for a quarter-century, selected 60 of Horst's images, including still lifes, nudes, floral shots and fashion photographs for the show that runs through March 15. While the image of a woman wearing an undone corset is well-known, many others are not, such as the 1958 portrait of Yves Saint Laurent at work at Christian Dior, and another of Irving Penn's wife, model Lisa Fonssagrives.

The German-born Horst, a naturalized American citizen who died at the age of 93 in 1999 in Florida, had an illustrious career, meeting and working with Le Corbusier, Cecil Beaton, Coco Chanel and George Hoyningen-Huene, among others.

And, perhaps ahead of his time, Horst published a book in the Fifties about celebrities and their homes, a subject that captivates the public even now.

As suggested by the exhibition's name, "Horst P. Horst: New Perspective," D'Orazio has set out to depict the lensman as a contemporary photographer. D'Orazio noted that many buffs might mistake Horst's photographs of flowers for those of Robert Mapplethorpe. Horst's influence is also evident in the Eighties' photography of Herb Ritts, Matthew Rolston and Greg Gorman. As time passes and younger generations are shaped by their more immediate predecessors, "There are people influenced by Horst who don't know they have been influenced by him," D'Orazio said.

Aside from gaining some inspiration from Horst's work, D'Orazio said he hopes visitors leave with "a respect for history."

"There's usually a lack of that in general," D'Orazio said. "I grew up in the fashion world and people usually have a five- to 10-year view of history."

The free exhibit is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, at the gallery, 524 West 24th Street in Manhattan.

D'Orazio is at work on another project to rekindle the memory of another fashion icon, Gianni Versace. After the designer was killed in Miami Beach in July 1997, the photographer documented the Versace and Versus rehearsals and runway shows in October of that year. Now Donatella Versace has given him the go-ahead to publish the images and has agreed to write a forward for a book that might be published next year, in time for the 10th anniversary of Versace's death."They are probably some of the best pictures I have ever taken," D'Orazio said. "But all these years no one has seen them. I never would have published them without Donatella's blessing."

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