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July 22 2014

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R.I.P. Deborah Turbeville

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Bath House, Vogue 1975

News broke late last week that photographer Deborah Turbeville died in Manhattan on Thursday from lung cancer at the age of 81. Having served as a fit model for Claire McCardell and an editor at Harper’s Bazaar early in her career, Turbeville introduced a personal, heady, and refreshingly feminine aesthetic to the world of fashion photography when, with the support of Richard Avedon, she began seriously taking pictures in the 1970s. “My photographs are extremely feminine,” she said in an interview with Style.com last year. “But it doesn’t have to do with any kind of conviction on my part. It’s all instinctive and spontaneous with me. There is a certain approach that women have. They do get into some kind of inner thing more than the male photographers do.”

That approach landed her editorials in publications like Vogue, W, and The New York Times. She worked alongside icons such as Diane Arbus, Polly Mellen, and Isabella Blow and even got arrested with Bob Richardson during a shoot for Harper’s Bazaar in Texas. Her legacy will live on through her moody, sometimes controversial images, which have been inspiring editors, stylists, and fellow photographers for decades. Here, a look back at the legendary lenswoman’s most memorable shots.

Photo: Vogue 1975; Courtesy of Rizzoli

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Dept. of Culture