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HomeContents > People > Photographers > George Platt Lynes

Dates:  1907, 15 April - 1955, 6 December
Born:  US, NJ, East Orange
Died:  US, NY, New York
Active:  US
 
  
American fashion and celebrity portrait photographer. He also worked in conjunction with the American Ballet company to produce a remarkable study of the company and its dancers.

Preparing biographies


Biography provided by Focal Press 
  
A self-taught photographer, Lynesí first business was as owner of a small publishing firm. He began making portraits in the mid-1920s and was fortunate to be able to travel to Europe where he earned early support for his photography from Gertrude Stein. In 1923 he opened a studio in New York. Alexey Brodovitch, art director for Harperís Bazaar, hired Lynes for some early fashion assignments. Lynes utilized an ample studio for large-format work often collaborating with the painter, Pavel Tchelitchev, who helped design and construct backgrounds. Commercial and fashion images by Lynes later appeared in Vogue and Town & Country. Artistically, he is best known for his homoerotic male nudes and his mythology studies produced in the studio with dramatic lighting of muscular limbs and torsos. During the 1930s and 1940s Lynes made images for Lincoln Kirsteinís American Ballet Company (Kirstein, a prep school classmate of Lynes). The photographer also enjoyed the patronage of Alfred C. Kinsey in the 1950s but, unfortunately, this alliance came too late to preserve some of Lynesí personal work, since the artist himself destroyed many negatives and prints that he feared would reveal his fascination with male sexuality. 
  
(Author: Ken White - Rochester Institute of Technology) 
  
Michael Peres (Editor-in-Chief), 2007, Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th edition, (Focal Press) [ISBN-10: 0240807405, ISBN-13: 978-0240807409] 
(Used with permission) 
  

Further research

 
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Portraits 
  
If you have a portrait of this photographer or know of the whereabouts of one we would be most grateful. 
  
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Family history 
  
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch. 
  
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Visual indexes

 
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Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer.Show on this siteGo to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online (www.groveart.com) has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
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Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

 
• Auer, Michele & Michel 1985 Encyclopedie Internationale Des Photographes de 1839 a Nos Jours / Photographers Encylopaedia International 1839 to the present (Hermance, Editions Camera Obscura) 2 volumes [A classic reference work for biographical information on photographers.] 
  
• Beaton, Cecil & Buckland, Gail 1975 The Magic Eye: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company) p.230 [Useful short biographies with personal asides and one or more example images.] 
  
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.312-313 
  
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on George Platt Lynes.] 
  
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.183 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 
  
 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

 
• Gruber, Renate and L. Fritz Gruber 1982 The Imaginary Photo Museum (New York: Harmony Books) p.254 
  
• Sobieszek, Robert A. and Deborah Irmas 1994 the camera i: Photographic Self-Portraits (Los Angeles: LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art) p.224, Plate 77 [When the Audrey and Sydney Irmas collection was donated to LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1992 the museum gained a remarkable collection of self portraits of notable photographers. If you need a portrait of George Platt Lynes this is a useful starting point.] 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
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