The Getty Museum just got a little more fashionable. The institution acquired fourteen works by famed fashion photog Hiro, all from work he did from the 1960s to the 1990s for magazines such as Harper's Bazaar, French Vogue and Mirabella. Hiro was one of the first magazine photographers whose commercial work touched on what others consider to be "art" - featuring unusual juxtapositions that changed the entire genre of magazine photography.
Highlights from the acquisition include "Black Evening Dress in Flight, New York," from 1963. Shot from above, Hiro captured the movement of a model wearing a wing-stoled evening dress and high-heeled satin sandals. "Beauty in Strength, New York" from 1964, also part of the acquisition, shows the bracelet on a woman’s wrist. Interested in portraying a new generation of women by showing strength and vivacity, the artist tied a tourniquet on the model’s hand to make her veins stand out. Also included is "Maria Beadeux, New York" from 1971. Created to show off Estée Lauder’s new lip color, Hiro focused on the model’s lips and instructed her in how to languorously release a puff of smoke from her mouth.
Hiro was born in Shanghai in 1930, then emigrated from Japan to the U.S. in 1954. He apprenticed under Richard Avedon, who introduced him to the art director of Harper's Bazaar, who gave him a position at the magazine. In January 1982, American Photographer magazine devoted an entire issue to Hiro and asked, “Is this Man America’s Greatest Photographer?” Hiro’s work is published in three monographs and can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, George Eastman House in Rochester, and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Other artists in the Getty collection, which has established a reputation for its fashion photographs, include Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Baron de Meyer, Horst P. Horst, William Klein, Man Ray, and Edward Steichen. Not a bad group to be amongst.