I saw this picture at the American International Fine Art Fair this month and was drawn to it's mysterious image.
At first glance, it looked like a digital print. However, I was surprised to find that famed photographer and photojournalist, Ormond Gigli had created this in 1960. Long before photoshop!
The story behind the photo, like his signature work, is iconic.
Mr. Gigli's studio was in a brownstone on East 58th Street, one day, as he watched construction crews dismantle a row of brownstones across the street, he was inspired to somehow immortalize those buildings. His vision was to have 43 women in formal attire adorn the windows in this skeletal facade.
He had to work quickly obtaining permits, arrange for models, some celebrities, including his own wife to model (2nd floor, far right). He even secured the Rolls Royce to be parked on the sidewalk.
ALL of this had to be done in ONE HOUR during the worker's lunch break!
The day before the buildings were razed, the 43 women appeared in their finest attire, went into the buildings, climbed the rickety, deteriorated stairs, and took their place in ART HISTORY in the windows.
The artist/photographer was set up across the street on a fire escape, directing the scene. Danger was eminent, as the models attempted to pose, some daring enough to climb onto the crumbling sills.
The photography came off as planned with as few as 14 shots. What had seemed a dream or too dangerous or difficult to accomplish, became for the photographer a fantasy fullfilled. This photograph has been an international award winner ever since.