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A Photographer's Eye: What Stylists Can Learn From Iconic Photographs

Maggie Mulhern | April 6, 2018 | 2:55 PM
Leland Hirsch and Maggie Mulhern in front of Dovima with Elephant by Richard Avedon.
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Helmut Newton 'Nude In Seaweed" Saint Tropez large-format, signed, titled, and dated in pencil on the reverse, framed, 1981, no. one in an edition of 10 19 1/4 by 18 7/8 in. (48.9 by 47.9 cm.) Estimate $20/30,000
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Michael Halsband 'Jean-Michel Basquiat + Andy Warhol, N. Y. C.' oversized, signed, titled, and dated in pencil on the reverse, framed, 1985, printed later 19 7/8 by 19 5/8 in. (50.5 by 49.8 cm.) Estimate $15/25,000
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Irving Penn 'Picasso (b) Cannes' platinum-palladium print, flush mounted to aluminum, signed, initialed, titled, dated, editioned '25/47,' and annotated in pencil and stamped on the reverse, framed, 1957, printed in 1985 18 5/8 by 18 5/8 in. (47.3 by 47.3 cm.) Estimate $70/100,000
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Peter Beard 'Photo Lesson On The S. S. Caroline, Skorpios, Greece, July 1972' (Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) a unique object, signed, titled, dated, and annotated in red and black inks, partial handprint and drawing in blood and inks in the image, and with collage elements, framed, a Fahey/Klein Gallery label and facsimile of the Peter Beard studio stamp on the reverse, 1972, printed in 2004 14 1/4 by 23 7/8 in. (36.2 by 60.6 cm.) Estimate $15/25,000
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Helmut Newton 'PANORAMIC NUDE - THE SCHOOL TEACHER, LAKE COMO oversized, signed, titled, and dated in pencil on the reverse, flush-mounted to acrylic, framed, 1990, no. one in an edition of 3 60 by 20 in. (152.4 by 50.8 cm.) Estimate $50/70,000
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Irving Penn 'Issey miyake design with black fan (new york)' dye-transfer print, signed, titled, dated, and annotated in pencil and stamped on the reverse, framed, 1987, printed in 1992, one from an edition of 17 dye-transfer prints 22 1/8 by 19 3/8 in. (56.2 by 40.1 cm.) Estimate $15/25,000
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Horst P. Horst 'ROUND THE CLOCK I, N. Y.' the photographer's blindstamp in the margin, signed, titled, dated, and annotated 'SGP' in pencil on the reverse, framed, a Holden Luntz Gallery label on the reverse, 1987, printed later 22 by 17 1/2 in. (55.9 by 44.5 cm.) Estimate $10/15,000
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Grillo Demo 'Elle with Falling Jasmine' a unique object, inkjet print on canvas, illustrated with gesso, signed, titled, and dated in ink on the reverse, framed, 2007 40 by 28 in. (101.6 by 71.1 cm.) Estimate $4/6,000
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Herb Ritts 'Stephanie, cindy, christy, tatjana, naomi, hollywood' mounted, signed, titled, dated, and editioned '11/25' in pencil and stamped on the reverse, overmatted, framed, 1989 18 1/2 by 20 in. (47 by 50.8 cm.) Estimate $50/70,000
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Leland Hirsch, Industry icon and founder of Celeb Luxury, has decided to share a part of his impressive photographic collection with any other collector by offering select pieces through Sotheby’s in an auction called “A Beautiful Life: Photographs from The Collection Of Leland Hirsch.” More than 50 photographs, accumulated over the past two decades, include pieces from some of the most recognizable photographers including Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Man Ray among others.

MODERN was with Hirsch as he addressed the press and potential buyers at a pre-auction “conversation” at the Sotheby’s headquarters in New York City. Surrounded by the collection, the colorist/collector shared that there is only so much room on the walls of his lovely Fort Lauderdale, Florida, home and he is happy to share some of his collection with other interested collectors.

After the viewing, Maggie Mulhern, MODERN’s Beauty and Fashion Director, chatted with Hirsch in front of his favorite piece -  Dovima with Elephant by Richard Avedon - and asked five key questions:

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO SELL THESE PHOTOGRAPHS?

LH: Once I sold my business ARTec to L’Oréal, I went on an artistic sabbatical and began collecting art. In addition to my collection of iconic photographs, I also have a very large collection of iconic contemporary and Chinese art, including work by Picasso, Damien Hirst and Zhang Xiaogang. When looking at photography as a collector, there is a personal connection between you as the collector, and the photograph. I am drawn to vibrant, exciting images that tell a special story. After 20 years of collecting, I want to share these photos with people so that they can be inspired by them like I have been. I have used that inspiration and passion to create and influence my new company Celeb Luxury, by developing brands and products that create emotional connections with those who use them. I see their creativity expressed with photography using new forms of technology on social media and they are inspired by the photographers and iconic photography I collect. It comes full-circle."

WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE PHOTOGRAPH IN THIS COLLECTION AND WHY?

LH: It has got to be Dovima with Elephant by Richard Avedon. This photograph is paramount to the history of Fashion and Photography. There is no other fashion photograph of the 20th century is as widely-recognized and no other image illustrates as fully Richard Avedon’s profound gifts as a photographer. The brilliant juxtaposition of the classically elegant Dovima with the towering rough forms of the elephants is as revolutionary today as when it was first published by Harper’s Bazaar in 1955. With this photograph, Avedon set a standard for inventiveness in fashion photography that has not been surpassed in the intervening years.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SALON PROS WHEN CONSIDERING AN INVESTMENT?

LH: You should acquire what you love but also have value, especially you as the new generation, working with ring lights, iPhones with a new interest in photography–cropping them and use graphic treatments to get the right effects. You are learning and evolving yourself. Look to these iconic master photographers to take yourself to the next level on Instagram and YouTube. This shows you what you can do from the salon chair. You are the next generation of collector and as you evolve yourself into a collector, invest, because the value always goes up.

WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE TO BE A SUCCESSFUL SALON PROFESSIONAL?

LH: Creativity is important, but the preservation of your client’s hair color at home is just as important as the work. Their color intensity and brightness should last. All dyes we use in the salon are not stable, so sell cleansers and conditioners with color in them to use at home. It will keep your client’s loyalty to your work.

YOU’VE HAD GREAT SUCCESS BY BRINGING EXCITING IDEAS TO LIFE. FOR SALON PROS WITH SIMILAR IDEAS - WHAT ARE THE FIRST STEPS TO BRINGING IT TO MARKET?

LH: The science always precedes the art. When a great painters paint, they have to know how to use the paint and know the canvas. When great sculptors sculpt, they have to know how to mix the clay and how to work with their hands. Knowing the science of the coloring material is important. It has always been about the synthetization of the dyes and the chemistry to make them do what they need to do. When you mix and blend and create your product, and it is what it should be, use it on your clients. You will do better for them and better for yourself.

Hirsch, a well-known and respected colorist in the 1980’s and 1990’s, was the creator of ARTec, the revolutionary shampoo that kept hair color from fading while keeping it vibrant and fresh. After selling to L’Oreal Paris in 2002. Hirsch went on what he describes as an “Artistic Sabbatical” where he traveled, collected all forms of art, worked on private projects and enjoyed life. In 2015 Hirsch returned to the professional salon industry with the introduction of Celeb Luxury, a collection of products designed to enhance and protect both vibrant and natural hair color through color washes and conditioners.

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