Saturday, March 8, 2014

Gleb Derujinsky

Gleb Derujinsky; copyright Derujinsky

"Baja Man"; copyright Derujinsky

"Baja Woman"; copyright Derujinsky

"Julie Harris"; copyright Derujinsky

"Emmett Kelly"; copyright Derujinsky

"Harry Belafonte"; copyright Derjinsky

"Sammy Davis, Jr."; copyright Derujinsky

"Duke Ellington and the Gang"; copyright Derujinsky

"Bride", Model:  Ruth Neumann-Derujinsky; copyright Derujinsky

Model:  Sandy Brown; copyright Derujinsky

Model:  Ruth Neumann-Derujinsky; copyright Derujinsky

"Ruth, Victoria Harbor, 1958"; copyright Derujinsky

"Eggs"; copyright Derujinsky

"Pears"; copyright Derujinsky

"Gold Found Here"; copyright Derujinsky

"Goldfield Haunted Hotel, Nevada"; copyright Derujinsky

"Navajo Chief"; copyright Derujinsky

"Cross"; copyright Derujinsky

Nova Scotia; copyright Derujinsky

"Pitch Fork and Church, Nova Scotia"; copyright Derujinsky

From "Hollywood People Project"; copyright Derujinsky

"Wayne Bench", copyright Derujinsky

"Balance", copyright Derujinsky

Special thanks to Andrea Derujinsky for allowing me to reproduce her father's photographs, here, on my blog.  Without her kind cooperation and generosity this blog entry would not have been possible.  No further use of these photographs is allowed without her permission.  She can be contacted at:

A Personal Observation:

I usually don’t make personal comments about the photographers highlighted here on my blog, but I feel compelled to make an exception in the case of Gleb Derujinsky. As a fashion photographer he was handpicked by Carmel Snow, the legendary editor of Harper’s Bazaar as one of a select group to photograph for the magazine. He may not have achieved the fame of Irving Penn or Richard Avedon, but his work is every bit as masterful. He had a unique talent. Whether it be as plebeian as a fish market or as majestic as the highest mountain tops, by juxtaposing fashion with a natural environment, he created a place of unrestrained imagination that complimented both. As his daughter, Andrea, point out, "Many fashion photographers were just that, fashion photographers. Gleb Derujinsky was a photographer who shot fashion."

This sense of adventure and ingenuity served him well later in life. To borrow from the title of one of my favorite photographs from his Ghost Town portfolio, he found gold after retiring from the glamorous world to be found on the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and Esquire. His work took a personal turn as he began to explore and photograph to satisfy his inquisitiveness. I have rarely seen as compelling a portrait as his Navajo chief, or as haunting an image as his study of a ghost town hotel lobby. This is a man in pursuit of art that made sense to him, and we are all the richer for this.

Biography written by Andrea Derujinsky, Gleb's daughter:

Welcome to the world of Derujinsky. This is a name once heard in aristocratic circles in Russia when Gleb Derujinsky Sr. and another even more famous relative of ours, composer Rimsky-Korsakov, were establishing themselves in the arts. Gleb Sr. was a sculptor, a contemporary and friend of Rodin. They both became prominent artists, and like Rodin, Gleb Derujinsky Sr’s. work is still shown in museums world wide.

Gleb Derujinsky, was named after his father. He inherited the family’s artistic genes and lived with the spirit of the brilliant renegade he was. At 6, he started shooting, developing and printing his own photos. By the age of ten, he built his own enlarger and by the time he was a teenager, he was the youngest member of the Camera Club of New York. There, he met some of the founding members of the prestigious group – Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz among them.

After serving in World War II, Derujinsky opened his own photography studio in New York City, where he became one of the most sought after fashion photographers of his time.

His was the era of European haute couture with fashion designers Balenciaga and Pierre Balmain at the top of their game and Yves-Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld just starting out. Gleb was handpicked by editor Carmel Snow of Harper’s Bazaar to be one of a select group of  photographers who shot for the magazine. Derujinsky was a contemporary of and Irving Penn and Avedon often competing for plum assignments, convincing his editors Carmel Snow and Diana Vreeland to endorse his outlandish ideas and the expenditure of sending him Around The World to photograph beautiful models draped in expensive gowns juxtapose against the rough sands of a far off desert. Air travel was far from routine and nothing like this had ever been done before. Gleb Derujinsky was always ahead of this time.

His 18 year career at Harper's bazaar spanned from 1950-1968 and during that time produced some of the classic images of the era. To this day they stand the test of time. His wife Ruth Neumann and Carmen Dell'Orefice were two of his most brilliant Models among so many brilliant often unknown models of the day when models were living mannequins and photographers were named on the pages of editorials.

Handsome and brash, exciting and inspiring to work with, he was dubbed the White Russian. He worked extensively with top models Ruth Neumann and Carmen Dell'Orifice. They became a triumvirate of kindred spirits knowing that fashion was only part of the story Gleb “painted” through his photos. Gleb took Ruth Neumann on the trip around the world, to commemorate the inauguration of Pan Am’s Boeing 707 – a mountaintop in Turkey, the seaside harbors of China, the Nara Deer Park in Japan, Thailand, Spain, Greece. Gleb Derujinsky was a romantic. In 1958, Gleb’s brilliant photographs of the Paris Collections became a 25-page spread in Harper’s Bazaar.​​

Gleb saw things that other people didn't. He was never without a camera, and a jacket with lots of pockets for lenses and filters, and a silver aluminum case for other camera equipment. ​
Gleb Derujinsky lived life to its fullest. He was a husband and father, photographer, world traveler, award-winning cinematographer and commercial director, jewelry designer, musician, jazz buff, ski instructor, a racecar driver for Ferrari America, and one of the best sail-plane pilots in the country. He even designed and built carbon fiber bicycles for the U. S. Olympic team. He died as he lived, gone in the blink of an eye, the snap of a shutter.

Derujinsky also worked some of the prime ad campaigns for Dupont, Cadillac, Julius Garfinckel & co., and Revlon. He was a jazz enthusiast and on his own time shot some of the most talented musicians who ever lived, Count Basie, Lester young, Charlie Parker, Buddy De Franco, Sammy Davis Jr, and Harry Belafonte and Tony Award winning actress Julie Harris.

Throughout his life he continued to shoot and did various series of subjects, food still life's, Hollywood street people of the 70's, Disappearing Fences of America, his own children, Ghost Towns of the Wild West and mining towns. All of which are rich with history, and glamour in a way only Derujinsky could have shot them.

In 1974 Gleb moved to Durango Colorado where he took his hobby of jewelry making to the next level opening a studio Called One Of A Kind. There he made and designed jewelry for yet another 20 years or so of his life. He discovered the local flavor of Navaho Indians and many other tribes and began adding Indian inspired Jewelry to his fine line of gold designs. Every piece was designed one at a time and created completely from scratch. He cut his own stones and handcrafted bezels. He was as passionate about his jewelry designs as he had been as a photographer.