Photo Book Review: William Helburn: Seventh And Madison

From the late 1940s through the 1960s (the golden age of advertising), noted photographer William Helburn was the popular choice for the top advertising agencies in New York City. He was a photographic pioneer who helped to revolutionize the advertising business—ushering in a more modern look—but after the 1960s he simply seemed to vanish.

From cars to cosmetics, Helburn created unforgettably innovative images for Coca-Cola, Canada Dry, whiskeys, fashion designers, airlines, jewelry and tobacco companies and various other products and working with the most beautiful models of the time like Dovima and Dorian Leigh to Jean Patchett, Barbara Mullen, Jean Shrimpton and Lauren Hutton.

Due to the fact that many of his images were uncredited, Helburn remained anonymous to the public, his name only known to his clients. But this worked to his advantage allowing him to work for many companies, most of which were competing with each other. William Helburn: Seventh and Madison provides the reader with an extensive look into Helburn’s extensive body of work (most of the images have not been seen since they were first published decades ago), and his lavish, jet-setting lifestyle. Adding even more depth, Robert Lilly provides a biographical account of Helburn’s life and work. Former colleagues Jerry Schatzberg, George Lois, Sunny Griffin and Ali McGraw also offer their insights into the life and photography of William Helburn.

William Helburn: Seventh And Madison, Fashion and Advertising Photography at Mid-Century by William Helburn, with Robert Lilly and Lois Allen Lilly; Thames & Hudson; $65; (ISBN: 9780500517659)

More info on William Helburn: Seventh And Madison here.

Joanna McCormick, 1951.

Dovima Under the El, “Dior Creates Cosmopolitan Drama,” 1956. For Douglas Simon.

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Times Square, Town & Country, ca. 1960.

Suzy Parker, c. 1959

“If you Can’t Go South Go Borg.” Jean Shrimpton, Wall Street, Borgana, 1964. For Douglas Simon