is dead at 73
© Gary Gross, Brooke Shields, 1978
Here is a text written by Dennis Hevesi (New York Times):
“Garry Gross Is Dead at 73; Photographer of Clothes and Their Absence:
Garry Gross, a fashion photographer for 30 years who was best known for controversial photos of an unclothed 10-year-old Brooke Shields, died on Nov. 30 at his home in Manhattan. Mr. Gross, who in recent years had focused his cameras on dogs, was 73.
He died of natural causes, his sister, Linda Gross, said.
In 1975, before Ms. Shields became known as a child actress, her mother, Teri, signed a contract allowing Mr. Gross to take a series of photos of Brooke, in thick makeup and bejeweled, sitting and standing in a steaming, opulently decorated bathtub.
Mother and daughter received a total of $450 for the shoot.
Within a few years Ms. Shields had become a star with her equally controversial appearance as a pre-teenage prostitute in the 1978 film “Pretty Baby.” And when she was 17, she tried to block any further sale of the photos, contending that they were an invasion of her privacy and caused her embarrassment.
But after a protracted legal fight, New York State’s highest court ruled that she could not break the contract. In its 4-to-3 decision, the Court of Appeals said that Mr. Gross could continue to market the photos as long as he did not sell them to pornographic publications.
In the minority opinion, Judge Matthew J. Jasen wrote, “I see no reason why the child must continue to bear the burden imposed by her mother’s bad judgment.”
By then Mr. Gross was already a figure in the New York fashion scene. His work had been featured in magazines like GQ, Cosmopolitan and New York. He also shot portraits for the record industry, including a well-known cover of Lou Reed holding up a hand mirror, but not bothering to look into it, for his 1979 album, “The Bells.”
Garry Donald Gross was born in the Bronx on Nov. 6, 1937, to Albert and Sylvia Gross. His father was a furrier. After graduating from City College in 1958, he became an apprentice to noted photographers, first Francesco Scavullo and then James Moore. He also studied with Lisette Model and Richard Avedon.
In addition to his sister, Mr. Gross is survived by a brother, Steve.
A lifelong animal lover, Mr. Gross had worked as a teenager at the stables in Van Cortland Park, near his home in the Bronx. With photo assignments fading after the Brooke Shields controversy, he decided to become a dog trainer. And in 2001, with Victoria Stilwell, who is now host of the television show “It’s Me or the Dog” on Animal Planet, he opened a dog training school in Manhattan.
He soon combined his passions, creating large-format studio portraits of dogs, lighting them the way he would fashion models and usually focusing on their eyes.
“He wanted to look into a dog’s soul, especially with senior dogs, to show how much life they’d lived,” Ms. Stilwell said on Monday. And because he was a dog handler, she added, “he was able to train the dogs so they weren’t freaked out by the flash.”
In a curious twist on the Shields case, Richard Prince, a pioneer of what is known as appropriation art — photographing other people’s photographs and enlarging them for exhibition — appropriated the most revealing of Mr. Gross’s bathtub shots of Ms. Shields.
Like other unwittingly appropriated artists, Mr. Gross objected and reportedly received a small payment from Mr. Prince in an out-of-court settlement.
The photo was shown at an exhibition of Mr. Prince’s work at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2007, but two years later the Tate Modern in London removed it from an exhibit after Scotland Yard warned that it could violate obscenity laws."