Spotlight On: Ormond Gigli

November 04, 2022
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Ormond Gigli Girls in the Window New York 1960

Art is an incredibly subjective subject and what speaks to one person on an emotional level may well come across as bland and uninteresting to the next… but, every now and again, an artist arrives that has universal appeal – and Ormond Gigli is surely one of those.

A famed photojournalist, Gigli enjoyed a career that spanned more than 40 years and you’re sure to have seen snaps of his appearing in the likes of Paris Match, Life, TIME and many, many other internationally renowned publications.

He first made a name for himself taking photos of film, theatre and dance and over the years he photographed some of the biggest names in showbiz and beyond, everyone from Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong to Barbara Streisand, JFK, Willem de Kooning, Marlene Dietrich, Sophia Loren… the list goes on and on.

While you’re sure to recognise many of his photographs, his most well-known work has to be Girls In The Window. This was taken in 1960 on East 58th Street in New York City… and it’s widely accepted as being one of the most famous fashion shots taken during the Swinging 60s, a little glimpse into what life was like in the Big Apple back in the day.

Of course, life moves on very quickly and, in fact, the brownstone buildings captured in the picture were demolished the very next day after the camera shutter was pressed.

In an interview with TIME magazine, Gigli explained that it was the demolition work that inspired him to get out there with his camera, saying: “I had a brownstone [studio] that was right across from it on East 58th Street and I look out the window one day and I see that they are tearing down the brownstones opposite me – they were old and no one was in them. 

“And I’m looking at them and I’m saying: ‘It’s a shame, you know, what can I do with it?’

I had a great staff there [at my studio], so I’m discussing it with my studio manager – if we could get the frames out of the windows, we could shoot a girl in each window. 

“So I had my studio manager go to talk to the head demolition guy and he said, ‘yes, but you have to put my wife in the shot!’ We had to do it the next day at 12 o’clock when the workers had their lunch hour. We got models, we got friends. They wore their own outfits, nothing was styled – it was a happening.”

The end result is certainly something special, something with a wide appeal. If you’d like to find out more about Girls in the Window, get in touch with us today to discuss fine art photography and why this Gigli print might be the one for you.

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