Appearing in Harper's Bazaar from the 1940's to the 1960's, her work is characterized by its elegance and grace. Bassman has transformed these photographs into original works of art through her darkroom techniques in which she blurs and bleaches the images, investing them with poetry, mystery, and glamour. The transformed photographs display extreme delicacy of gesture and quintessential femininity. Her emphasis on their beautiful arms and hands evoke an aura of romance and charm from her models, and are perfectly suited to the amazingly constructed and accessorized couture garments of the day.
Lillian Bassman was born in 1917 into an immigrant family of free-thinking intellectuals, and brought up with a mind-set that allowed her to live as an independent and unconventional woman. While in school, she worked as an artist's model in exchange for studio space. She worked as a textile designer and fashion illustrator before working at Harper's Bazaar for Alexey Brodovitch, and ultimately becoming a photographer. She married Paul Himmel in 1935, and they have two children. In recent years she has had innumerable awards, exhibitions, and honors.