Exhibition: – 8 Jan 2011
Melvin Sokolsky (born in 1938) is an American photographer and film director.
Born in New York City, Sokolsky had no formal training in photography, but started to use his father's box camera at about the age of ten. Always analytical, he started to realize the role that emulsion played as he compared his own photographs with those his father had kept in albums through the years. "I could never make my photographs of Butch the dog look like the pearly finish of my father's prints, and it was then that I realized the importance of the emulsion of the day."
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 (for which he produced, in 1963, the "Bubble" series of photographs depicting fashion models "floating" in giant clear plastic bubbles suspended in midair above the River Seine in Paris), 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.