Monday, May 2, 2011

Fabulous Photographer Toni Frissell

Antoinette Frissell was born in 1907 in New York City, New York, but took photos under the name Toni Frissell, even after her marriage to Manhattan socialite McNeil Bacon. She worked with many famous photographers of the day, as an apprentice to Cecil Beaton, and with advice from Edward Steichen. Her initial job, as a fashion photographer for Vogue in 1931, was due to Condé Montrose Nast personally. She later took photographs for Harper's Bazaar. Her fashion photos, even of evening gowns and such, were often notable for their outdoor settings, emphasizing active women.

Weeki Wachee Spring Florida, Published in Harpers Bazaar 1947, considered her finest work, has been used for album covers and is much emulated.

 Frissell was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with fashion photography and wanted to be taken seriously as a photographic reporter, In 1941, Frissell volunteered her photographic services to the American Red Cross. Later she worked for the Eighth Army Air Force and became the official photographer of the Women's Army Corps. On their behalf, she took thousands of images of nurses, front-line soldiers, WACs, African-American airmen, and orphaned children. She travelled to the European front twice, much to her families consternation. Her moving photographs of military women and African American fighter pilots in the elite 332d Fighter Group (the "Tuskegee Airmen") were used to encourage public support for women and African Americans in the military.

Dovima, Montego Bay, Harpers Bazaar 1946

In the 1950s, she took informal portraits of the famous and powerful in the United States and Europe, including Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, and John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy, and worked for Sports Illustrated and Life magazines. Continuing her interest in active women and sports, she was the first woman on the staff of Sports Illustrated in 1953, and continued to be one of very few female sport photographers for several decades.

In later work she concentrated on photographing women from all walks of life, often as a commentary on the human condition.

Toni Frissell died of Alzheimer's disease on April 17, 1988, in a Long Island nursing home.

Actress Elizabeth Blair 1934

Members of the elite all black Tuskegee airmen 332nd fighter group attending a brief meeting in Ramitelli, Italy 1945

An abandoned boy, holding a soft toy amongst the devastation of the London Blitz 1945

Lady Churchill kissing her Graddaughter

With llamas in Peru

Toni Frissell

“Here are faces that I have found memorable. If they are not all as happy as kings, it is because in this imperfect world and these hazardous times, the camera's eye, like the eye of a child, often sees true.”


  1. Bizarre photographer...touching so very much!!!
    Wonderful post,thank you:-)*

    With love,

  2. What a wonderful wonderful post of an incredible talent. I didn't know she died of Alzheimer's = so sad. Love the quote - lovely way to start the week - thank you Dash!

  3. Her work is brilliant. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  4. I adore the glamour photographs but the little boy in the Blitz took my breath away, haunting and so sad. xxx

  5. I am stunned. I am bewitched. I am grateful. I am following! xoxoxoxoxo

  6. I am with Vintage Vixen...the photo of the little boy is positively heartbreaking. But the second photo from the top took my breath away. So gorgeous and made me think of Ophelia.

    You have enriched my world with your amazing photos and homages to such great people. For this you have my enduring appreciation and gratitude.

  7. What fabulous photos .. I love the one of the girls drinking beer and the boxer dog.. Hope you are well Dash .. sorry I have not been blogging or reading much lately .. I intend to catch up xx

  8. Fascinating stuff! The photos are absolutely stunning. Thanks for posting. Hope all's good with you xx

  9. oh my goodness
    i have just discovered
    you...and i love this
    post....and its magnificent
    imagery...thank you for
    compiling this together.
    blessings my dear!
    xoxo EdenClare

  10. The black & white photo of the woman in white floating in lake in Florida is a popular poster on,
    does anyone know if she ever had children? I wonder who gets royalties on famous photos once the photographer is gone. Can't believe she died in a nursing home, hopefully, back then, they were better places than they are today.

  11. Thanks for the post and great tips..even I also think that hard work is the most important aspect of getting success..


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