Ormond Gigli’s best photograph – women in the windows in Manhattan

please note this post is not by Jay Clapp Photography but from the photography news at the guardian for your viewing pleasure please feel free to use the share buttons at the bottom.

‘The building was knocked down the next day. The supervisor let us do it – provided we cast his wife’

It was the summer of 1960, and one morning I glanced out of the window of my studio in Manhattan and noticed that a row of brownstones opposite were being prepared for demolition. Looking at the design of the empty windows, an idea struck me: put a woman wearing colourful clothes in each of the openings.

I sent over someone from my staff to talk to the demolition supervisor. He agreed to let us go ahead – provided we used his wife in the photograph. We could shoot the next day during their lunch hour, he said. After that, the building would be gone.

So, with 24 hours to pull it off, we called up all our contacts to find models and locate a Rolls-Royce to sit on the sidewalk in front. I had a good reputation, as I was working for Time and Life magazines, so it was quite easy to convince people.

The next morning I was in the studio, on East 58th Street between First and Second Avenue, and had the feeling that it wasn’t going to work out. Then my assistant came in and said: “Ormond, you’d better get the camera up on the fire escape. There are people filling up the windows and more coming in taxis.” All of a sudden it was happening.

There were models, socialites, my wife (second floor, far right), the supervisor’s wife (third floor, third from left), all wearing their best dresses. I moved them around to spread out the colours and told them to pose as if they were giving someone a kiss. As I was photographing, I noticed some of them were on the windowsills. As these were made of cement and sometimes break off, I shouted at them through a bullhorn to stay within the frames.

The noon sun was overhead and the light shone between the streets. Miraculously, the police didn’t come by and stop us – and, within an hour, I’d got my shot.

I have a big print of it up on my wall. I still smile whenever I look at it, even after all these years. Not bad.


Born: 1925, New York City.

Studied: New York School of Modern Photography.

Influences: Alfred Eisenstaedt, along with the photographers of Life and Paris Match magazines.

High point: “When Life offered me a staff job …”

Low point: “… and I turned them down over the salary.”

Top tip: “Do something else – it’s too difficult being a photographer now.”

guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

via Art and design: Photography | guardian.co.uk http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2013/may/01/ormond-gigli-best-photograph-women-windows Sarah Phillips Thanks for reading Jay

About jayclappphotography

Professional photographer running http://www.jayclappphotography.co.uk Feel free to comment and discuss photos

Posted on May 1, 2013, in Photography News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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