The Faces: Stunning Portrait Photography by Melvin Sokolsky in the 1960s

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Born 1933 in New York City, American photographer and film director Melvin Sokolsky had no formal training in photography, but started to use his father’s box camera at about the age of ten.

Portrait photography by Melvin Sokolsky in the 1960s

Around 1954, Sokolsky met Robert Denning, who at the time worked with photographer Edgar de Evia, at an East Side gym. “I discovered that Edgar was paid $4000 for a Jell-O ad, and the idea of escaping from my tenement dwelling became an incredible dream and inspiration.”

Though he is best known for his editorial fashion photographs for publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and The New York Times, Sokolsky’s work is not limited to that field. Three quarters of his print photography has been for advertising, which does not usually carry a byline. As Sokolsky said in an interview: “I resented the attitude that ‘This is editorial and this is advertising’. I always felt, why dilute it? Why not always go for the full shot?”

Toward the end of the 1960s, Sokolsky worked as both commercial director and cameraman. He did not, however, abandon the world of print photography; in 1972, he was asked to photograph the entire editorial content of McCall’s magazine, a first for any photographer.

These stunning photos are part of his work that Sokolsky took portraits of classic beauties from the 1960s.

 Isabella, Match, New York, by Melvin Sokolsky, 1960

Simone d’Aillencourt by Melvin Sokolsky, July 4, 1960

Simone d’Aillencourt by Melvin Sokolsky, Muir Woods, Marin County, California 1960

Simone d’Aillencourt, bare bulb, screen, by Melvin Sokolsky, Harper’s Bazaar, 1960

Ivy Nicholson by Melvin Sokolsky, 1961

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