photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum
In 1958 photographer Bruno Benini travelled to Italy where he photographed Carla Baldacci and Janice Wakely modelling clothes by Crestknit, Sportscraft and Ninette. This photograph shows Janice Wakely in Rome wearing a dress by Ninette.
Benini was largely concerned with creating atmosphere in his fashion photography and this image is a particularly successful example of the photographer’s flair for drama. The ‘story’ told by Benini in this image is as important as the fashion.
The model is positioned in the lower right of the frame, seemingly overwhelmed by her surroundings. She holds her hands across her chest in a gesture of self protection and looks out of the frame, towards something or someone that the viewer cannot see. The stairs, with their strong diagonal, lend the image a dynamic quality. They also lead out of the frame, another reference to the world outside of the photograph.
Benini has chosen a high angle, looking down on his subject giving her a sense of vulnerability. With its elements of mystery and suspense this image could easily be a still from a film noir or a thriller by Alfred Hitchcock.
Photography by Bruno Benini
Collection, Powerhouse Museum 2009/43/1-4/1/3
© Benini estate
Post by Kathy Hackett, Photo Librarian