Famed master photographer Hiro has died in New York City.
Yasuhiro Wakabayashi was born to Japanese parents in Shanghai in 1930, and arrived in New York City in 1954, where he began his photographic training as an assistant to Richard Avedon. Through Avedon’s introduction, Hiro started working under renowned art director Alexey Brodovitch at Harper’s Bazaar in 1956.
Hiro’s fashion and editorial career quickly flourished, and by 1963 he was the only photographer under contract with the magazine – a position he enjoyed for the next ten years.
According to his gallery Pace-McGill,
Infused with an elegant sense of Surrealism, Hiro’s images embrace the use of bold color, dynamic design, experimental lighting, and unconventional compositional juxtapositions to transport viewers to illusory realms where the boundaries between genres disappear. Whether photographing The Rolling Stones, Tokyo subway commuters, fighting fish, the 1969 Apollo 11 spaceship launch, or a baby’s foot, Hiro approaches his subjects with a distinctly metamorphic vision.
I worked at Vogue in the 80s where Hiro shot fashion and beauty as well for many other publications I worked for over the years. I was always a fan and when his work appeared in print, I would often cut out the images and pin them to my office wall for inspiration.
Urban legend has it that The Dakota apartment that Roman Polanski used for Rosemary’s Baby in the 60s belonged to Hiro, but I’ve never had that confirmed.