Born on 28 August 1916 in Philadelphia, Louis Faurer became celebrated as a fashion photographer during the 1950s and 1960s. In addition to this, he also built up a considerable personal archive of street-photography, his private passion. Faurer received minimal public exposure and recognition for this personal work, but insiders, such as Robert Frank (with whom he shared a dark room), William Eggleston and Walker Evans, lauded its calibre.
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After winning a photography contest in the Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger in 1937, Louis Faurer decided to pursue photography as a career. During the Second World War he served in the US army as a photographic technician, and then moved to New York City in 1946. In 1948 his first fashion photograph was published in an issue of Junior Bazaar, at the behest of the fashion photographer, Lillian Bassman. More work followed and, in 1950, he was hired as a full-time staff-photographer at Flair magazine. Despite having regular commercial employment, Faurer continued to take candid street-photographs, alongside his fashion work. His subjects were often people who had fallen on rough times, evidence of his sympathy for the disadvantaged.
Faurer was inspired by the photography of the Farm Security Administration, part of President Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ initiative. The FSA had hired photographers and writers to record the plight of farmers during the Great Depression in the 1930s. The programme produced many of the most well-known Depression-era photographs. It was after one of the most famous FSA alumni, Walker Evans, recommended Faurer to the art director at Vogue that Faurer managed to properly establish himself as a fashion photographer. He shot for magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, LIFE and Glamour for over 20 years.
Faurer’s work was included in two exhibitions at MoMA in 1948 and 1955. His first solo show of his personal work was in 1959 at Helen Gee’s Limelight Gallery in New York. In 1984 he was injured in a car accident, and was unable to continue his photographic career.
He died on 2nd March 2001, at the age of 84.