Ormond Gigli

(1925) American


Born in New York City, Ormond Gigli graduated from the School of Modern Photography in 1942 and served in the Navy during World War II. While he was working for Rapho photo agency in 1952, a LIFE editor enlisted him to do celebrity profiles in place of the photojournalist Robert Capa, who was interested in other assignments. That same year, LIFE assigned Gigli to the Paris fashion shows; a photograph of his published in the center spread of the magazine initiated his career as one of the most sought-after magazine photographers of the next two decades. His work was published in major international periodicals, including Time, Paris-Match, LIFE, and Collier's; in 1954 he opened a Manhattan studio on East 65th Street, where he photographed leading stars of the day and covered Broadway shows for Time and LIFE. As fashion photography lost its innocence in the 1970s and 1980s, he increasingly worked for a roster of corporate clients. His work has been shown in galleries around the world and has appeared in various photographic anthologies.
Ormond Gigli is best known for his 1960 color photograph Girls in the Windows, in which models in an assortment of poses and outfits stand in the windows of three New York brownstones across the street from his studio. Gigli conceived of this image independently, rather than on assignment, and when he showed it to editors at LIFE and Ladies' Home Journal, they published it immediately. It has since been the inspiration for subsequent commercial image-makers.
Lisa Hostetler
Handy et al. Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection, New York: Bulfinch Press in association with the International Center of Photography, 1999, p. 216.
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