Deborah Turbeville Photocollage

Nathalie Herschdorfer

Timeless, evocative, and hauntingly beautiful photocollages in a retrospective monograph by a truly innovative image maker whose female gaze transformed fashion photography.

American photographer Deborah Turbeville defies classification. She belongs to no school nor movement. Her unique visual signature has been recognizable since her emergence as a major talent in the 1970s. Her images are evocative, difficult to date at first glance, and seem dreamlike to our twenty-first-century eyes, a very different representation of feminine beauty from the highly sexualized works of her male contemporaries.

This new publication focuses on the area of Turbeville’s practicewhere her genius as an artist can be found: photocollage. In contrast to her contemporaries in fashion photography, she was deliberately playful with her images: xeroxing, cutting, scraping, and pinning prints together, writing in the margins and creating narrative sequences. Her work is located far from single, glossy images. It inhabits a liminal zone between art and commerce.

Built upon extensive research in the Deborah Turbeville archive, the work shown spans commercial and personal projects, with many images published for the first time. With texts by Vince Aletti, Anna Tellgren, and Felix Hoffmann, this book brings into the spotlight the ways in which Turbeville redefined fashion photography, moving away from the sexual provocation and stereotypes assigned by male photographers to an idea of femininity on her terms. Deborah Turbeville: Photocollage will be an essential publication with modern relevance for all with a passion for fashion photography.

Reviews

Seeks to place Turbeville…among the finest photographers of her generation… Her photographs [are] eerily and ethereally beautiful.

— Shelf Awareness (starred review)

The darkly compelling vision of a singular fashion photographer.

— Vogue

Contributors

Nathalie Herschdorfer

Author

Nathalie Herschdorfer is director of Photo Elysée - Museum of Photography in Lausanne. Her previous books include Coming into Fashion, Afterwards: Contemporary Photography Confronting the Past, and Body: The Photography Book. Deborah Turbeville (1932-2013) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Her fashion photography featured in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Nova, and the New York Times and for fashion labels including Comme des Garcçons, Guy Laroche, and Charles Jordan. Her archive is held by MUUS Collection.