Remembering Gosta Peterson
Self taught photographer Gosta Peterson, was ahead of the curve back in the 60's. He made fashion history with his magazine covers of a beautiful black model Naomi Sims, and Leslie Hornby, otherwise know as the British Waif, Twiggy. Naomi Sims blazed a trail for a generation of black super models when a full page portrait of her was published on the cover of Fashion of the Times in 1967. Prior to that, Ms. Sims had been rejected by several modeling agents because they thought her skin was too dark. Undeterred, she decided to approach photographers herself and used her race as an advantage. The pages of Fashion of the Times, once exclusive pages of high fashion journals, were evidence that a social movement of Black Pride was erupting and nothing could stop it. Peterson's pictures of Ms. Sims were considered groundbreaking.
He loved to photograph women before they were famous. Gosta Peterson was known to mix high fashion with lessor known models he selected himself. He was very much an anti fashion, fashion photographer as his son, Jan Peterson noted. Gosta Peterson photographed Twiggy in her first fashion shoot in the U.S., pictures that appeared in the Times Magazine in 1967 when she was 17 years old. The story goes, his wife, Patricia Peterson was the magazines fashion editor at the Times Magazine. Mrs Peterson basically went to the airport said "let s get her before anyone does. Twiggy pulled together a two-piece black sweater dress, donned an Adolfo hat, and in 2 hours, Mr Peterson completed the shoot for a special headline called "the Black Comeback. This was his only photo session with her. Once Twiggy became Twiggy, he wasn't interested in shooting her anymore.
Gosta Peterson wasn't as well known as Richard Avedon and Irving Penn but he was one of the most rebellious and brutally creative fashion photographers of his generation. Lizzie Crocker wrote in The Daily Beast in 2014, the women he photographed were off beat, eccentric, irreverent, and not conventionally pretty. While most models flirted with the camera, he forced his subjects to confront it".
Mr. Peterson was 94 when he passed in Manhattan last week. We salute him, big time, because he pursued his own path, quite successfully, and not succumbing to what pop culture wanted from photographers at that time. He held true to his art and forged forward.
It is so important to stay true to yourself and your goals. You have been given a life to live and there is no better person than you to determine how that life should be carried out. Never deviate from your passions and never get thrown from your path because of a need to be something that’s not genuinely you. When you are your truest self, you will succeed because you will offer the world a completely unique gift.
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