Gösta Peterson, Barrier-Breaking Fashion Photographer, Dies at 94

The Times cover was widely regarded as the first by a major American fashion magazine with a racially mixed readership to feature a black model.

Ms. Sims had been a 19-year-old student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan when she cold-called Mr. Peterson at his Upper East Side studio. That he immediately agreed to photograph her was typical of his contrarian approach to his work.

He often recruited models to pose in natural light and in prosaic settings, sometimes even precariously on bicycles or roller skates.


Slide Show

The Photographs of Gösta Peterson

CreditGosta Peterson, via Turn Gallery


A Swedish-born illustrator-turned-photographer, Mr. Peterson frequently juxtaposed high fashion with the low public profiles of the lesser-known models he selected himself. His method was often to incorporate multiple images in compositions that sought to capture not just outer garments but also his subjects’ inner individuality.

“Gus is very much an anti-fashion fashion photographer,” Jan Peterson, his son and manager, said in 2015.

Mr. Peterson photographed Twiggy in her first fashion shoot in the United States, the pictures appearing in The Times Magazine of April 16, 1967.

At the time, his wife, Patricia Peterson, was the magazine’s fashion editor, and she had met Twiggy — the elfin, doe-eyed, 17-year-old Lesley Hornby, whose prepubescent boy’s figure had inspired the sobriquet — as she arrived in New York as already a 5-foot-7 blond sensation in Europe.

“My mother basically went to the airport and said, ‘Let’s get her before anyone else,’” Ms. Peterson-Steer told New York magazine’s The Cut in 2015.

Twiggy rustled up a two-piece black wool sweater dress and an Adolfo hat, and in two hours Mr. Peterson completed the shoot for a spread headlined “Black Comeback.”

Photo

Twiggy in her first fashion shoot in the United States. The pictures appeared in The Times Magazine on April 16, 1967.

Credit
Gosta Peterson, via Turn Gallery

It was his only photo session with her.

His daughter told Women’s Wear Daily in 2015 that when people asked him, “Where are your other photos of Twiggy?” he would typically reply: “I just took that one.” She added that was “because once Twiggy became Twiggy, he wasn’t…

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