Georges Dambier

Georges Dambier (1925-2011) is recognised as one of the first photographers to take fashion out onto the street in the 1950s. In early 1942, with WWII raging, Dambier, at age 17, began assisting the famous artist and poster designer Paul Colin. Colin was responsible for introducing his budding young apprentice to the world of fashion, interiors, antiques and, most of all, to beautiful Parisian women.


At the end of the war, Dambier got his first job with a magazine, Presse, where he met and assisted the up-and-coming photographer Willy Rizzo. He quickly moved on from assisting and became a photographic reporter working on a range of stories for Le Tout-Paris. It was his natural skill with graphics and penchant for stylish women which led him to concentrate on fashion photography. Within a few years he was regularly photographing the beauties of the day: Dorien Leigh, Suzy Parker and Brigitte Bardot.


It was not long before Hélène Lazareff, the famous editor and founder of ELLE, took notice of his work and offered him a position at her magazine. This was a fantastic opportunity for Dambier which he happily took advantage of. It was while working with ELLE that he became one of the first French photographers to take models out of the studio for their shoots. It is here, on the streets of Paris, that Dambier took some of his most memorable and engaging photographs. In May 1954, his friend Robert Capa suggested to him that they start up a Fashion Department at the Magnum Photo Agency. Unfortunately this never happened as just a few days later Capa died unexpectedly while working in Vietnam.


Between 1960 and 1980, Dambier started and worked at several important publications that helped spread his fame, primarily ELLE and Vogue. In 1964, he launched the magazine TWENTY, which embodied a new publishing concept in the early 1960s: presenting fashion and culture in a style to attract a younger generation of readers. Twenty's fashion photographer Jean Paul Good, was one of the most important French photographers at the time, making the magazine even more popular. The second magazine Dambier worked on, V.S.D., came about in 1980 with Maurice Siegel. An instant success, V.S.D. took an editorial turn towards the arts, and for the next ten years became the second most popular magazine in France, after Paris Match.