Sam Haskins (born 11 November 1926, died 26 November 2009), was a British photographer, born and raised in South Africa. He started his photographic career in Johannesburg and moved to London in 1968.
Sam Haskins produced one of the great pioneering moments in the history of post-war photography. The production of 'Five Girls' in 1962 liberated figure photography from cliche and won equal proportions of fans among both genders.
His unapologetic celebration of life, beauty, sensuality and visual ideas found a huge international audience. 'Cowboy Kate,' first published in 1964, a whimsical Western tale and the first creative photographic book to use pure visual narrative and the conscious use of grain as creative tool, has become a ubiquitous reference for the design, fashion, movie and photographic industries.
Cowboy Kate won the Prix Nadar in Paris in 1964, was included in the 'The Open Book: A History of the Photographic Book from 1878 to the Present' exhibition at the International Center of Photography, New York in 2005 and is probably the best selling photo book of all time.
The lightheartedness which Sam brought to the content of his images was combined with a signature quest to show his models as natural and real people.
He was also a photographer's photographer, a master of studio and location shooting and one of the great black and white printers of his generation. His content spanned a huge range of work, from the ethnic art homage seen in "African Image" to his books of nudes, 'Five Girls,' 'Cowboy Kate,' and 'November Girl,' and the polished graphic photo illustrations in color first seen in 'Haskins Posters,' the 30 years of calendar production from 1970 to 2000, to the fashion work done in the last decade of his life.
It was ironic that in his mid-70s the fashion industry 'discovered' the master photographer whom they had been 'referencing' for decades. While the content spanned a wide gamut from tender and profound to whimsical and humorous, he was, in every respect, hard-core about the photography itself and set relentlessly high standards of creativity and presentation.