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A New Show in New York Will Trace a Glamorous Photographer Couple’s Legacy

FOR MIDCENTURY READERS of American style magazines, the work of photographer couple Leslie Gill and Frances McLaughlin-Gill would have been a familiar sight. Gill’s precisely shot configurations of food, objects and people often filled the pages of Harper’s Bazaar and others. McLaughlin-Gill, 11 years his junior, was Vogue’s first contracted female photographer, with a knack for turning American socialites and models like Gloria Vanderbilt and Sunny Harnett into icons of postwar chic. Now their moment has returned in Lives & Still Lives: Leslie Gill, Frances McLaughlin-Gill, and Their Circle, at New York’s Howard Greenberg Gallery through July 7.

The exhibition was organized by the independent curator and former New Yorker visuals editor Elisabeth Biondi, who discovered the work through the couple’s daughter, Leslie Gill. It comprises 58 photographs, shot between the 1920s and 1960s, by the Gills and their friends, including Man Ray, Irving Penn and Louise Dahl-Wolfe. The images recall an era when the couple were “giants of the style world,” Biondi says. Though their subject matter often differed, she notes, “they influenced each other on an aesthetic level.”

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