NEW YORK — In the Sixties, Sam Haskins’ photographs of bare breasts and gun-toting hips caused a fuss. But these days they’re a breath of sentimental seminudity, offering a glimpse at fashion shoots gone by. Haskins worked in the absence of elaborate sets, avant-garde makeup, publicists or attendants, simply training his lens on pretty girls busy being pretty instead.
“They were all my friends,” Haskins says of his subjects. “They weren’t models that came in for the money. They came to make pictures with me.” Since then, artists the world over have drawn inspiration from Haskins’ modish, graphic nudes, 40 of which are on display through Oct. 18 at the new Gallagher Art & Fashion Gallery in the East Village.
Haskins admits the whole Sixties fashion scene was very DIY. “We made our own props. We made our own clothes and did our own hair and makeup,” he says. And without modeling agents shuttling their newest discoveries into the studio, one model often fortuitously led to the next. “One girl would work with me, and after a while she’d say, ‘You know, I have a friend who I think would be very good at this,’ and then she brings her in,” says Haskins, who is based in Australia. “It was tremendous fun.”
At 77, the lensman — who began his career in advertising and then took art photos — has entered a new stage in his professional life. He recently began working as a fashion photographer, accepting assignments for French, Australian, and Japanese Vogue. And he has since reassessed his view of the magazine world.
“I didn’t like the girls that were running the fashion magazines much in the Sixties,” he explains. “Now there are some lovely fashion directors.”