Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Garry Gross (1937-2010)

with 14 comments

His name was well-known, even if it is whispered with muted distaste in photography and copyrights circles. His body of work is unknown, eclipsed by a single pictorial he undertook for American socialite Teri Shields. In 1975, Garry Gross scribbled his name into a dubious footnote in the history of photography by photographing a nude 10-year-old Brooke Shields. The photos of bejeweled soon-to-be-child-actress, in thick makeup and in a steaming, ornate bathtub, however, wouldn’t become known outside the arts community for another three years.

After seeing the photos Louis Malle cast Brooke Shields as a child prostitute in Pretty Baby, his acclaimed movie set during the last months of legal prostitution in New Orleans. The rest was history — and a rancorous one as that. Some two decades after New York’s highest court ruled that the photos are not “sexually suggestive, provocative or pornographic” and are distributable as long as they are not included in pornographic publications, the public remains as divided as ever before on the issue. On this blog, the post of Brooke Shields which detailed the controversy remains the most visited entry, and comments there represent a veritable cross-section of pluralistic viewpoints and range from informed to inane.

As for Garry Gross, he didn’t share the spotlight created by the controversy. His name was mentioned sporadically as the Brooke Shields controversy raged on, as when the famed appropriationist Richard Prince, who photographs other people’s photographs and exhibits them, dug this hoary old chestnut up again in 2007. “The photo has been infamous from the day I took it and I intended it to be…. she was supposed to look like a sexy woman,” Gross admitted to the Daily Telegraph then. But apart from occasional interview, Gross remained in semi-retirement. He was shunned by the society and rejected by galleries which were hesitant to court controversy by staging Gross exhibits. Never returning to celebrity photography, Garry Gross worked and died as a humble dog photographer and trainer. He is 73.

 

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

December 8, 2010 at 11:58 pm

Posted in Obituary, Society

Tagged with ,

14 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. There’s a mistake, in this post is said that the photoshoot took place in 1975, but in the original post, it reads: “In July 1978, at the age of thirteen, Brooke Shields made front page news in Photo Magazine…”

    Which date is the correct one?

    Cheers

    José Ignacio Silva

    December 9, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    • I think shes sexy

      justin

      April 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      • I think she is sexy too

        john sanchez

        April 4, 2014 at 9:40 pm

  2. [...] Na foto, Brooke Shields com 10 anos. Amplify’d from iconicphotos.wordpress.com [...]

  3. The mistake is yours, Jose:

    The entry clearly states that although the photo was “taken” in 1975, it “wouldn’t become known outside the arts community for another three years.”

    By that he means they were not “published” until 3-years later: 1978.

    Jamie

    December 9, 2010 at 10:07 pm

  4. Abolutely true, I realized it later.

    My deepest apologies.

    Best Wishes to everyone in Iconic Photos.

    José Ignacio Silva

    December 13, 2010 at 1:43 pm

  5. Why post yet another picture of prepubescent Brooke Shields. There’s enough traffic with the earlier items. No need to belabor this photographer and controversy. In fact, it seems improper for all obvious reasons to do so.

    Silvia

    December 13, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    • I disagree, the controversy was relevant, the images speak dor themselves, and one of the main characters of the story has died. I don’t see this as maneuver to get more visits.

      José Ignacio Silva

      December 13, 2010 at 7:53 pm

  6. [...] Garry Gross (1937-2010) « Iconic Photos His name was well-known, even if it is whispered with muted distaste in photography and copyrights circles. His body of work is unknown, eclipsed by a single pictorial he undertook for American socialite Teri Shields. In 1975, Garry Gross scribbled his name into a dubious footnote in the history of photography by photographing a nude 10-year-old Brooke Shields. The photos of bejeweled soon-to-be-child-actress, in thick makeup and in a steaming, ornate bathtub, however, wouldn’t become known outside the arts community for another three years. [...]

    links for 2010-12-18

    December 18, 2010 at 1:01 pm

  7. I don’t think Jock Sturges is ostracized by the art community, so why the difference?

    Owen

    December 18, 2010 at 7:58 pm

  8. [...] names Dennis Stock, the man who made Jimmy live forever; Corinne Day, the discoverer of Kate Moss; Garry Gross, the originator of a thousand controversies; and Felice Quinto, the original paparazzo who served [...]

  9. for those that think this is child po*n…..it’s not. there has to be a sexual act.maybe if she fingered her vagina,that would be a bit different. i think pics of naked kids make some people uncomfortable.

    mark

    June 4, 2012 at 7:03 am

    • the problem is that there is an obviously sexual element. she is wearing makeup, in an adult “sexy” pose. this isnt a little kid jsut playing in he tub. this is a child posed to look like an adult.

      cris

      February 17, 2014 at 7:34 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,551 other followers

%d bloggers like this: