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Ormond Gigli, 94, of West Stockbridge, photographer of 20th-century icons

At the center of his successful oeuvre stands his best-known photograph, "Girls in the Windows," taken in New York City in 1960.

Ormond Gigli, celebrated American photojournalist, passed away peacefully at his home in West Stockbridge Thursday, Dec, 12, 2019, surrounded by family. Born in 1925, with a professional career spanning over 75 years, Mr. Gigli was one of the most prolific and successful commercial photographers of the 20th century with significant work in theater, film, dance, fashion, portraiture and travel.

‘Lips.’ Photo: Ormond Gigli

Beginning as a Naval Intelligence photographer in World War II, Mr. Gigli trained in commercial photography in New York on the GI Bill after the war. Working from Paris as young man, an assignment from Life magazine jumpstarted his career, catapulting him into early success shooting for world-leading magazines Paris Match, Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal, Colliers, Time and Newsweek. Developing a reputation for his work in theater and film, he captured Broadway hits “Funny Girl,” “Damn Yankees,” “The Pajama Game” and “Oh, Calcutta!” Leading actors Barbra Streisand, Gwen Verdon, Marlene Dietrich as well as Frank Langella, Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton all sat in front of Gigli’s sensitive lens. As a prolific fashion shooter, Gigli worked with designers Halston and Norma Kamali, and covered fashion for Time magazine throughout the late ’60s and ’70s. He expanded into portraiture, creating intimate and revealing images of JFK, RFK, Glenn Gould, William de Kooning, Marcel Duchamp and Gianni Versace as well as official portraits of King Umberto II of Italy, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, and Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia. His ability to connect with and put his subjects at ease during complicated, sometimes uncomfortable situations was characteristic of his style as much as has the technical prowess of his camerawork. Rounding out his varied and rich career are journalistic photos of gypsies in Portugal, bullfighters in Spain, and a deep and expansive portrayal of the Bedouin showing powerful images of desert life.

‘Girls in the Windows.’ Photo: Ormond Gigli

At the center of his successful oeuvre stands his best-known photograph, “Girls in the Windows,” taken in New York City in 1960. A masterful example of photography direction, the image was conceived by Gigli and defined his artistic vision. Ground-breaking in its unique and innovative approach, it depicts 43 fashionable women standing in the windows of a New York City brownstone. Today it is one of the most recognizable photographs of the 20th century.

Galleries worldwide represent Ormond Gigli’s work. His monograph “Ormond Gigli – Girls in the Windows and Other Stories” was published in 2013. Ormond Gigli’s son Ogden Gigli manages the Gigli archive. www.ormondgigli.com.

‘Nude.’ Photo: Ormond Gigli
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