Sam Haskins

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Sam Haskins
Sam Haskins by Ludwig Haskins.jpg
Born(1929 -11-11)11 November 1929
Kroonstad, South Africa
Died26 November 2009(2009-11-26) (aged 83)
Bowral, Australia
Alma materLondon College of Communication, London
Occupation(s)photographer, photo-graphic illustrator.
SpouseAlida Haskins
ChildrenLudwig Haskins, Konrad Haskins, Heidi Haskins
AwardsPrix Nadar in 1964
International Art Book Competition, Israel in 1969
One Show Gold Medal, NY in 1974
Biennale des Arts Graphiques, Silver Medal in 1978
Kodak book of the Year in 1980

Samuel Joseph Haskins (11 November 1926 – 26 November 2009), was a British photographer, born and raised in South Africa. He started his career in Johannesburg and moved to London in 1968. Haskins is best known for his contribution to in-camera image montage, Haskins Posters (1973) and the 1960's figure photography trilogy Five Girls (book) (1962), Cowboy Kate & Other Stories (1964) and November Girl (book) (1967), plus an ode to sub-saharan tribal Africa "African Image (book) (1967) .

He suffered a stroke on 19 September 2009 the opening day of his exhibition to launch Fashion Etcetera at Milk Gallery in New York, and died at home in Bowral, Australia, nine weeks later.


Haskins was born in Kroonstad in the province of the Orange Free State of South Africa. His father Ben was a goods inspector on South African Railways. Early creative influences were fueled by an interest in magic tricks, kite making, drawing and the circus. A talented athlete, as a teenager he excelled at hurdling and trained with a circus, resulting in a job offer as a trapeze catcher.


Haskins' formal higher education was at the Johannesburg Technical College 1945–1948, where he did a general arts course followed by a part-time photographic module. Between 1949 and 1951, he studied at the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts in Bolt Court, later renamed the London College of Printing, and now the London College of Communication.

Marriage and children[edit]

Haskins married Alida Elzabe van Heerden in 1952 and they had two sons; Ludwig (4 August 1955) and Konrad (27 January 1963). They adopted a daughter, Heidi in 1960, but she died in infancy. Alida gave up a career in fashion soon after their marriage to become Haskins' business partner. She played a key role in the launch of his career by acting as a publishing agent for Five Girls when he was still an unknown photographer. She continued to negotiate worldwide publication of his books, apart from Fashion Etcetera, his last project, a book and exhibition in New York, managed by Ludwig. Alida died on 5 December 2012. Haskins' artistic estate is now owned and managed by his son Ludwig. Konrad Haskins, Ludwig's younger brother and only sibling died on 23 March 2014.

Career summary[edit]

Haskins started his career as an advertising photographer in Johannesburg in 1953. He ran what was probably the first modern freelance advertising studio in Africa. He produced commercial work across a very broad spectrum of photography from still life to industrial, fashion and aerial. His first formal creative output was a one-man show at the popular Johannesburg department store John Orrs in 1960. This featured black-and-white photography of models in the studio and included some photographs of dolls made by the young Elisabeth Langsch, who went on to become Switzerland's leading ceramist.

His international reputation and his signature photographic passions were established by four key books published in the 1960s. Five Girls (1962) explored a fresh approach to photographing the nude female figure and contained important first explorations with black-and-white printing, cropping and book design, which were a key feature of his subsequent books. Cowboy Kate & Other Stories (1964) was probably the first book to deliberately explore black-and-white photographic grain as a medium for expression and image design. It was highly influential at the time, sold roughly a million copies worldwide and won the Prix Nadar in France in 1964. It continues to influence contemporary photographers, film makers, fashion designers and make-up artists. Cowboy Kate & Other Stories or 'Kate' as the book is often referred to, had its place in photographic history cemented in 2005 when the International Center of Photography in New York included the book in their exhibition The Open Book: A History of the Photographic Book from 1878 to the Present.

November Girl (1967) contained key image collages which formed the basis of many graphic and surrealist experiments in the 1970s and 1980s. African Image (1967) was a visual homage to the indigenous people, culture, landscape and wildlife of sub-Saharan Africa. The images represent a lifelong interest in photographing graphically stimulating environments and formally document his passion for indigenous craft. He broke bones on river rapids and wrote off two Volvo saloon cars on African dirt roads while shooting the book. Despite its international award, this meticulously constructed book, celebrating a love for sub-Saharan Africa, is probably the least known of his major creative projects, but it is coveted by serious collectors of African art and photography.

In 1968, Haskins moved to London and ran a studio in Glebe Place just off the King's Road. He worked as an advertising photographer for international consumer brands Asahi Pentax, Bacardi, Cutty Sark whisky, Honda, BMW, Haig whisky, DeBeers, British Airways, Unilever and Zanders, and specialised in the art direction and shooting of calendars, especially for Asahi Pentax in Japan. Although he endorsed Hasselblad for a short period in the late 1960s and early 1970s, his loyalty to the medium format 6x7 camera and lenses from Asahi resulted in a rare long-term association between a camera manufacturer and photographer. From 1970 to 2000, Asahi Optical (later Pentax) produced 30 calendars, of which Haskins shot and art-directed 15 editions including the millennium calendar. No other photographer was invited to contribute more than once. He is still involved with the Pentax Forum Gallery in Tokyo, which hosts his exhibitions. His first contact came in 1967, when Asahi Optical presented him with a 35 mm camera after hearing that he had shot African Image with various competitors' products.

In 1972, he produced his first colour book, Haskins Posters.[1] The large-format publication contained pages printed on one side using a thick stiff paper and a soft glue perfect binding allowing the pages to be removed and used as posters. Haskins and Alida successfully published the book internationally through their own company, Haskins Press. The book won a gold award at the New York One Show. At the time the best-known image from Haskins Posters, a girl's face superimposed on an apple with a bee near the stem, appeared on the cover or in editorials of almost every major photographic magazine around the world. This image was part of a well-publicised visual and graphic experimentation with the apple theme in the 1970s that for a while resulted in photographic journalists nicknaming him 'Sam the Apple man'.

The images in Haskins Posters traversed different creative themes that all became signature passions for Haskins' image-making over the next three decades; graphically strong compositions of nudes characterised by a natural essence in the models, while the image-making explored themes of graphic experimentation, humour and sensual eroticism. Haskins had a recurring theme (rooted in his training as a painter) of creating tension in the surface of his photographs between flat graphic elements and 3D chiaroscuro. Those results were often achieved with sophisticated lighting and/or double exposures. A highly creative and design driven approach to lighting almost always played a key role in Haskins' work, both in the studio and on location. He often developed complex lighting designs for a single specific shot that were never repeated, a late example being a fashion shoot for New York magazine's 75th anniversary issue shot in New York's Pier 57 studios in August 2006.[2]

Haskins also often sculpted and painted graphic elements for his photographs and drew inspiration from a combination of surrealism, illustration, film and modern graphic designers.

The graphic experiments first seen in Haskins Posters and related exhibitions at London's Photographer's Gallery and National Theatre, resulted in a book called Photo Graphics (1980).[3] The title of the book coined a new term in photography that has since become widely used.

Haskins' next book, Sam Haskins á Bologna (1984), resulted from an invitation by the mayor of Bologna to photograph the city.[4] The publication was accompanied by an exhibition in the city. This project led to two more homages to visually rich locations shot over a series of visits; Barcelona (1991) and Kashmir (between 1992 and 1994).

From 2000 to 2005, he focused on fashion photography for Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Allure and New York. A shortage of copies of the original edition of Cowboy Kate & Other Stories (1964), which was selling to collectors for up to US$3,000, led Haskins to bring out a digitally remastered 'director's cut' version in October 2006, published by Rizzoli in New York. Apart from image editing and layout revisions, the new version had 16 pages of new images.

In 2002, Haskins and Alida moved to the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, and built the third house-studio of their partnership. The move away from London resulted in a renaissance in Haskins' fashion photography. While he had always had a passion for fashion from the start of his career, and Cowboy Kate influenced fashion designers, who credited Haskins, he had not been courted by the mainstream fashion world and did not court them. A shoot for Yves Saint Laurent in Paris in 2002 resulted in a 'rediscovery' that led to a stream of assignments in London, New York, Paris, Tokyo and Sydney, working for fashion houses and magazines.

In December 2006, a month after his 80th birthday, the first retrospective exhibition of his work (with a portraiture bias) opened at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra (Australia). That was also his first exhibition at a national museum/gallery.[5] The show ran for four and a half months to 22 April 2007.

The exhibition contained several portraits of other artists never seen before, including one of the late Jean-Michel Folon, a graphic artist much admired by Haskins. Although one or two of the images from that personal portrait project had previously been published, the majority remained part of a quiet collection built up over decades of meeting and befriending other artists.

In 2009, Haskins published, under the family imprint The Haskins Press, his first book in 24 years. Fashion Etcetera is a thematic slice through his archive that explores a lifelong passion for fashion, style and design. The book was produced over three years working in close collaboration with his son Ludwig and his grandson Oren, and is dedicated to Ludwig and Oren. In 2009, the last year of Haskins' life, his "Fashion Etcetera" book and exhibition received widespread global publicity, and in the process, turned images of Gill from 'Five Girls' (1962) into one of the new-found icons of the 1960s. Following the death of Haskins' wife, Alida Haskins, on 5 December 2012, the Haskins estate is now 100% owned and managed by Ludwig, who continues to publish and exhibit his father's work and negotiate image rights.

Slide show[edit]

Haskins developed a medium format slide show comprising up to 500 images, each displayed for seven seconds, synchronised to music. They were shown with a traditional manual projector operated by Haskins using a darkroom timer. First shown in Brighton at an international photo conference in 1970, the show was hugely popular, filling theatres, cinemas and convention halls at photo conferences and public performances in over 50 cities around the world.

The initial format of the slides was 6cmx6cm, because all Haskins' medium format images at that point had been shot using Hasselblad and Rolleiflex cameras. Haskins took delivery of his first Pentax 6x7 in 1970 in Tokyo but it took several years to build up a body of 6x7 slides. The conversion of the slides to 6x7 format took place in 1975 and it was at that point that the show gained a much higher profile internationally.

Teaching and assessing[edit]

Haskins ran one-week photographic training workshops in Italy, Sweden and South Africa in the 1970s. He returned to his alma mater, The London College of Printing, in 1975 as outside assessor on the photographic diploma course, a position he maintained until 1982.

Between 1980 and 1985, he ran one-week workshops for writers, cinematographers, directors and set designers at Norwegian Television's training school in Oslo.

The rest of his teaching was usually at one-day workshops at photo conferences and to groups visiting his studio. Haskins maintained close links with Syracuse University in the US, hosting groups of visiting students at his studio in London every summer from 1975 to 1988.


Books by Haskins[edit]

Five Girls
Concept, Photography & Design Haskins
Format 144 p, 350x270mm, Cased, Offset
Library of Congress catalogue No. 62-20049
Introduction by Aaron Sussman
Hardcover published 1962
Crown Publishing Inc. New York
Bodley Head London
Europäische Bücherei Hieronimi Bonn
Bantam Books New York
Corgi London
Cowboy Kate
Concept, Photography & Design Haskins
Format 160p, 350x270mm, Cased, Gravure
Library of Congress catalogue No. 67-112870
Introduction by Norman Hall
Text by Desmond Skirrow
Hardcover published 1964
Crown Publishing Inc. New York
Bodley Head London
Edition Prisma Paris
Europäische Bücherei Hiernonimi Bonn
Besige Bij Amsterdam
Bantam Books New York
Corgi London
Europäische Bücherei Bonn
Signed Limited Edition 1975
Haskins Press London
November Girl
Concept, Photography & Design Haskins
Format 129 p, 350x270mm, Cased, Gravure
Library of Congress catalogue No. 71-385000
Text by Desmond Skirrow
Hardcover published 1967
Grosset & Dunlap New York
The Bodley Head London
Edition Prisma Paris
Europäische Bücherei Hiernonimi Bonn
Bantam Books New York
Corgi London
African Image
Concept, Photography & Design Haskins
Format 160p, 350x270mm, Cased, Gravure
Library of Congress catalogue No. 67-105792
Foreword by L. Fritz Gruber
Hardcover published 1967
Thomas Crowell New York
Bodley Head London
Haskins Posters
Concept, Photography & Design Haskins
Format 32 p, 480x350mm, Soft Cover, removable pages
Library of Congress catalogue No. 73-176000
Foreword by Haskins
Softback (main edition) published 1972
Haskins Press London
Thomas Crowell New York
Fitzhenry Toronto
Westside Ltd Toronto
KKK Tokyo
Europäische Bücherei Hiernonimi Bonn
Limited edition hardback published 1972
Photo Graphics
Concept, Photography & Design Haskins
Format 100 p, 310x245mm, Cased, Offset
Library of Congress catalogue No. 82-126090
Hardcover published 1980
Rotovision S.A. London
Rotovision S.A. Geneva
Colucci Edizione Milan
Nippon Geijutsu Shp. Tokyo
Sam Haskins a Bologna
Concept, Photography & Design Haskins
Format 88p, 280x240mm, Soft Cover, Offset
Library of Congress catalogue No. (no number available)
Introduction by Profs. Carlo Gentile & Renzo Renzi
Hardcover published 1984
Graphis Edizione Bologna
Cowboy Kate (Director's Cut)*
Concept, Photography & Design Haskins
Format 194p, 350x270mm, Cased, Offset
Library of Congress catalogue No. 2006923016
Foreword by Philippe Garner
Introduction by Norman Hall
Text by Desmond Skirrow
Hardcover published 2006
Rizzoli New York
  • 'Cowboy Kate and other stories — Director's Cut' published in 2006 is entirely digitally remastered by the author with edits to the original story and 16 additional pages of images.

Printed in offset litho as opposed to the original which was photo gravure printed in Switzerland.

Fashion Etcetera by Haskins Author's Edition
Concept, Photography & Design Haskins
Format 316p, 359x271mm, Cased, Offset
Library of Congress catalogue No. 2009924427
Foreword by Tommy Hilfiger
Introduction by Michael Arts
7 Chapter Introductions by Haskins
Haskins Biography by Ludwig Haskins
Hardcover published 2009
The Haskins Press Bowral, Australia
Fashion Etcetera by Haskins Special Edition
Concept, Photography & Design Haskins
Format 316p, 359x271mm, Cased, Offset
Library of Congress catalogue No. - Not Applicable -
Sold Exclusively in Tommy Hilfiger stores
Foreword by Tommy Hilfiger
Introduction by Michael Arts
7 Chapter Introductions by Haskins
Haskins Biography by Ludwig Haskins
Hardcover published 2009
Tommy Hilfiger New York
  • The two editions of Fashion Etcetera are technically identical apart from the covers.

Books with images by Haskins[edit]

Year City Title Editor/Author
1964 Tokyo Photography of the World Heibonsha Ltd
1966 Cape Town Silver Images Dr A Bensusan
1966 London British Journal of Photography Annual Arthur James Dalladay
1966, 1968, 1971–1975, 1977–1982, 1984 Zurich Photographis Walter Herdeg
1968 London British Journal of Photography Annual Arthur James Dalladay
1970 Geneva Art Director's Index to Photographers1 Rotovision
1970, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977 Tokyo Pentax Forum Pentax
1970 Munich 4 Meister der erotischen Fotografie photokina 1970
1970 Cologne Photokina Bilder und Texte photokina 1970
1971 London/New York Views on Nudes Bill Jay
1972 London The Century - 100 Years of Posters Bevis Hillier
1974 Zurich Graphis Inc. Posters Walter Herdeg
1974 New York The One Show New York Art Director's Club
1974 Zurich Graphis Inc. Walter Herdeg
1975 Fribourg Friburg International Trienalle Friburg Museum of Art
1976 London Graphis Glamour Calendar Art Michael Colmer
1977 London Photography 35mm Camera R H Mason
1977 Tokyo Asahi Pentax Annual Pentax
1977 Cologne Geschichte der Fotografie im 20 Jh. Peter Tausk
1977 London Masterpieces of Erotic Photography Aurum Press
1978 Fribourg Friburg International Triennale Friburg Museum of Art
1978 Brno Brno Biennale '78 8th Graphic Art
1978 Cologne Dumont Foto 1 (Fotokunst und Fotodesign international) Fotokunst Int.
1978 London The Visual Dictionary of Sex Macmillan
1978 London Modern Publicity 47 Felix Gluck
1979 London Modern Publicity 48 Felix Gluck
1979 London The Erotic Arts Peter Webb
1980 Zurich Graphis Inc., Photographics William B McDonald
1981 Milan Women in the Magic Mirror Bert Hartkamp
1982 London/New York The Dictionary of Visual Language Philip Thompson & Peter Davenport
1983 Cambridge The Autograph Book
1984 Hamburg Die Schönen Geschöpfe - Tierfotos Stern Bibliothek
1984 Hamburg Der Erotische Augenblick Stern Bibliothek
1985 Munich Das Aktfoto Munich Stadtmuseum
1985 London Photographers Encyclopedia International 1893 to the Present Michele Auer & Michel Auer
1986 Schaffhausen Ansichten vom Körper Michael Kohler
1987 London The Naked and the Nude Jorge Lewinsky
1987 to 1997 inclusive Tokyo Pentax Annual Pentax
1989 Rochester, New York Professional Photographic Illustration LoSapio
1990 New York Angels - An Endangered Species Malcolm Godwin
1990 North Abbot The Tree Peter Wood
1995 Munich Twen, Revision einer Legende Michael Koetzle
1995 London Contemporary Photographers 3rd Edition Martin Evans
1997 Paris Love in the 20th Century F. Montreynaud
1997 Munich Willy Fleckhaus Michael Koetzle & Carsten M Wolf
2000 New York Cross Kelly Klein
2000 U.S. Emerging Bodies / Polaroid Barbara Hitchcock
2004 Piermont, New Hampshire Mary McFadden, High Priestess of High Fashion, A Life in Haute Couture Mary McFadden & Ruta Saliklis
2004 Paris Belles en Vogue Florence Müller
2006 Paris Nus : Les plus grands photographes du monde Anthony LaSala
2007 London Nudes : The World's Top Photographers series Anthony LaSala
2007 Paris Livres de nus Alessandro Bertolotti
2008 Sydney 10 Years of Fashion Photography Harper's Bazaar
2008 New York Horse Rizzoli
2008 Milan photo20esimo (maestri della fotografia del XX secolo exhibition) Silvana Editoriale
2009 Munich Nude Visions (Münchner Stadtmuseum exhibition) Kehrer Verlag
2010 Buriton 25 Years of colouring in (Paul Martin Design Company) Grantchester Editions
2012 New York Mary McFadden by Mary McFadden RCS MediaGroup (under Rizzoli imprint)
2012 Cologne The New Erotic Photography 2 by Dian Hanson Taschen

(1) The Art Director's Index is a paid entry publication but on this occasion the publishers requested editorial material from Sam.

Haskins - Art history and criticism[edit]

Year City Book Title Author Publisher
1976 Paris La Photo Chenz & Jeanloup Sieff Denoël
1980 London Photography in the 20th Century Petr Tausk Focal Press
1983 London How Famous Photographers Work Jack Schofield Watson-Guptil
1985 Prague Creative Colour Photography Petr Tausk Focal Press
1986 Frankfurt Modern Colour Photography '36-'86
1987 London Masters of Photography D. Mrazkova Hamlyn
1996 New York Art Fundamentals - Theory & Practice Otto Ocvirk McGraw Hill
1997 Oxford The Story of Photography Michael Langford Focal Press
1998 Munich Nude Photography - masterpieces from the past 150 years Peter-Cornel Richter Prestel
2001 New York Masters of the 20th Century(1) Mervyn Kurlansky Graphis Inc.
2004 Gothenburg The Open Book - A history of the photographic book from 1878 Andrew Roth Hasselblad Center
2005 Switzerland The World's Top Photographers - Nudes Anthony la Sala Rotovision

(1) Masters of the 20th Century is a book featuring graphic designers and typographers with the work of only two photographers, viewed in this context as photographic illustrators; Haskins and Rankin Waddell.


Year City Award Presented for; Award Organisation
1964 Paris Prix Nadar Cowboy Kate and other stories Prix Nadar
1969 Jerusalem Silver Medal African Image International Art Book Competition
1974 New York Gold Award Haskins Posters The One Show
1980 New York Book of the Year Photo Graphics Kodak

Solo exhibitions[edit]

Year City Exhibition Location
1960 Johannesburg Photographic Illustration Orrco Theatre
1970 Tokyo Sam Haskins Pentax Gallery
1970 Tokyo Sam Haskins '70 Isetan Gallery
1972 London Haskins Posters Photogephers Gallery
1973 Paris Haskins Posters FNAC Gallery
1973 Tokyo Haskins Posters Isetan Gallery
1974 Amsterdam Haskins Posters Canon Gallery
1974 London Pentax Calendar 1975 Pentax Gallery
1976 Tokyo Scandinavian Landscapes Isetan Gallery
1976 London Calendar 1977 Pentax Gallery
1979 London New Work Pentax Gallery
1980 London Photo Graphics National Theatre
1980 London Photo Graphics Kodak Gallery
1980 Norwich Photo Graphics Sainsbury Centre
1980 Bath Photo Graphics RPS Gallery
1981 Glasgow Photo Graphics Hillhead Gallery
1981 Rotterdam Photo Graphics Pentax Gallery
1981 Zurich Photo Graphics Pentax Gallery
1981 Tokyo Photo Graphics Pentax Forum
1981 New York Photo Graphics Neikrug Gallery
1984 Bologna Sam Haskins a Bologna Galleria d'Accursio
1985 Tokyo The Best of Sam Haskins Pentax Forum
1986 Osaka The Best of Sam Haskins Printemps
1987 London Graphic Work Saatchi & Saatchi
1987 Tokyo Calendar 1988 Pentax Forum
1990 Tokyo The Image Factor Pentax Forum
1990 Osaka The Image Factor Pentax Forum
1991 Auckland The Image Factor Conference Centre
1991 Sydney The Image Factor Conference Centre
1991 Hong Kong The Image Factor Conference Centre
1992 Tokyo Remember Barcelona Pentax Forum
1992 Osaka Remember Barcelona Pentax Gallery
1992 Glasgow Now & Then MNS Photocolor
1993 Tokyo Hearts Pentax Forum
1993 Osaka Hearts Pentax Gallery
1996 Tokyo Sam Haskins - Monochrome Pentax Forum
1996 Osaka Sam Haskins - Monochrome Pentax Gallery
1999 London Innovations & other stories Focus Gallery
2000 Berlin Image² Gallery Argus Fotokunst
2003 New York Sam Haskins Michael Gallagher Gallery
2004 Paris Sam Haskins Marlat
2004 Amsterdam Sam Haskins Gallery Wouter van Leeuwen
2006-2007 (8 December - 22 April) Canberra Sam Haskins - Portraits & Other stories [1] National Portrait Gallery
2009 (19 September - 26 October) New York Sam Haskins - Fashion Etcetera Milk Gallery
2010 (9 July - 21 August) Paris Sam Haskins - Calendars & other stories Ofr. Bookshop & Gallery
2019 (19 September - 16 November) London Cowboy Kate & Other Stories Atlas Gallery

Group exhibitions[edit]

Year City Exhibition Gallery
2005 New York The Open Book: A History of the Photographic Book from 1878 to the Present [2] International Center of Photography
2007 London Fashion [3] Michael Hoppen Gallery
2008 Lugano maestri della fotografia del XX secolo [4] Museo d’Arte
2017 New York Haskins, Giacobetti, Shinoyama: Three Masters of Erotic Photography [5] Steven Kasher Gallery
2020 Geneva Sieff + Haskins [6] Grob Gallery

Works in public collections[edit]


Year City Title Production Company
1973 London Sam Haskins William Webb
1987 Locarno Grandii Fotografi Polyvideo SA
1990 London Sam Haskins - Pentax 67 Luke Jeans
2002 London Oral History of British Photography British Library Sound Archive


  1. ^ Haskins Posters on Haskins' site.
  2. ^ Fashion shoot, anniversary.
  3. ^ Photo Graphics at Haskins' site.
  4. ^ Sam Haskins á Bologna at Haskins' site.
  5. ^ Exhibition Archived 4 October 2008 at National Portrait Gallery - Canberra. First retrospective show.

External links[edit]