Deborah Turbeville at Staley-Wise

Deborah Turbeville at Staley-Wise



We reviewed the newest Deborah Turbeville’s book, The Fashion Pictures, in the first issue of SZ magazine. This week I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a selection of Turbeville’s photography is on view at Staley-Wise gallery, hidden above the hubbub of Broadway in SoHo.

The exhibit consists of twenty-one prints that transport you to another time and place. Beautifully haunted spaces are occupied by beautifully haunting models and it’s hard to believe that most of these photos were commercial work for US and Italian Vogue in 70s and 80s.

The magic of Turbeville’s photography is its ability to create a spectral atmosphere that seems to reside outside of time. She loves picking places that were once dazzling, but whose splendor has now faded, and then filling them with subjects that are not quite from another era, but also not quite our contemporaries either. This transience is especially captivating in the sepia photo of a model in an abandoned chateau near Deauville (who the hell abandons a chateau in the middle of France?!), wearing a Paco Rabanne gown. The woman in the picture reminded me of a fin de siècle Proustian aristocrat. She does not belong to the vulgar present, the world has passed her by, but she cannot stay in the past, because the world does not care for it. But maybe you will?

Deborah Turbeville, The Fashion Pictures, Staley-Wise Gallery
560 Broadway, New York, Until November 26, 2011

All photos, copyright Deborah Turbeville/Staley-Wise gallery, used by permission.


About the author

Eugene Rabkin

Eugene Rabkin is the founder of He has contributed articles on fashion and culture to The Business of Fashion, Vogue Russia, Buro247, the Haaretz Daily Newspaper, and other publications. He has taught critical writing and fashion writing courses at Parsons the New School for Design.


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