Glove shop sign, France. 1934
© Mary Faulconer
Vintage Silver Gelatin Print
Mary Fullerton Faulconer met Alexey Brodovitch when he taught advertising in industrial art at the highly influential Design School in Philadelphia in 1931. His notes on her abilities read, “…Characteristics: original, and interesting approach in every problem. Good taste. Sincerity and persistence in finding logical answer for the subject given...”
After being persuaded to leave Philadelphia for Harper’s Bazaar in New York, Mary was asked to take over Brodovitch’s role at the school, which continued to flourish under her directorship. She maintained close communication with Brodovitch during the 30s and when invited by Brodovitch to accompany him and Nelson Grupo on a ‘road-trip’ through France in 1934, she eagerly accepted the job as map-reader, driver and muse.
Her photographs show the obvious influence Brodovitch had on her as he had on many of the students who subsequently attended his famous Design Laboratory in the various photographers studios such as Avedon and Fonssagrives in New York.
Mary Faulconer continued to work for Brodovitch once she left the Design School, creating some of Brodovitch’s many memorable and seminal articles in Bazaar for him. Her photographs became aide memoirs for everything European and today she continues to paint in New York City. Her admirers and collectors of her work have included The Duchess of Windsor, Katherine Hepburn, Cole Porter and Jackie Kennedy to name a few. We suspect that if her photography had been better known and if Brodovitch had allowed her to develop this craft, her name would be synonymous with some of the other greats from the golden age of photography in the 30s, 40s and 50s.