Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Sur La Tour Eiffel

with 10 comments

You can tell how famous a photograph is by looking at the photos it inspired. The above picture, of Lisa Fonssagrives at the Eiffel Tower is one of such photos. Translucent and ephemeral, Fonssagrives’ pose was emulated innumerable times in fashion photography. In 2008, Peter Lindbergh revisited the scene with Marion Cotillard for a Dior handbag advertisement. (below)

Erwin Blumenfeld’s original set of photos featuring Lisa Fonssagrives swinging from the girders of the Eiffel Tower in a Lucien Lelong dress appeared in May 1939 Vogue.

Lisa Fonssagrives marked the beginning of an era when the muses of the yesteryear gave way to a new diaphanous form of feminine beauty — the supermodel. The Swedish blonde for whom the word ‘svelte’ seems especially fitting, she crafted iconic portraits with Horst P. Horst, Blumenfeld and Irving Penn, whom she married. Her career spanned three decades; she retired with her image gracing more Vogue covers than any other model and the appellation, “Billion Dollar Baby.”

Thanks Fredi for suggesting this picture.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

February 23, 2010 at 9:45 pm

10 Responses

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  1. what about this one 🙂

    ps. I love your blog! One of my best google reader feed!


    February 24, 2010 at 1:11 pm

  2. Did Fonssagrives have to do this for real or is there a backdrop?


    February 24, 2010 at 8:22 pm

  3. From this interview it sounds as though she was doing it for real – http://bombsite.com/issues/12/articles/645

    Even if it’s a backdrop it looks so much better than the lower one. That just looks like a horrible composite shot


    February 26, 2010 at 12:17 pm

  4. Lisa Fossagrives was an excellent model. You can tell by viewing her pictures in thumbnail, each shows good pose and grace.

    How many models are like her nowadays.

    By the way, the first photo was a real shot. I am not sure about the second photo, seems like too much editing.


    April 13, 2010 at 7:23 am

  5. Does anyone know where i can actually purchase this image. Lisa Fonssagrives on the Eiffel Tower by Erwin Blumenfeld (May 1939 Vogue) I found it on a site i think it was istockphoto.com but can’t find it again.. i need to purchase it in a high resolution..
    Please can anyone help?

    Jess Barnes

    April 22, 2010 at 1:10 pm

  6. why can I not see the pictures, Reini???? 😦 sie sind unsichtbar fuer mich, schade! Sind diese in einer solch grossen Aufloesung dass sie zu lange haben um zu erscheinen hier?

    Susanne Van Hulst

    April 30, 2010 at 12:38 am

    • Susanne,
      I don’t know why you are not able to see the pics. Maybe something wrong in your browser settings ? Maybe you have blocked the images (this very often happens with FF). Images here are not too large. But the blog is great, can keep you reading for hours.

      Reinfried Marass

      April 30, 2010 at 1:15 am

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    May 23, 2011 at 5:23 pm

  8. Did Fonssagrives have to do this for real or is there a backdrop?


    April 30, 2012 at 2:38 am

  9. […] Fluid motion – photographer Erwin Blumfeldimage via Iconic Photos […]

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