Toni Frissell, or Antoinette
Frissell Bacon, (March 10, 1907 - April 17, 1988) was an American
photographer, known for her fashion photography, World War II
photographs, portraits of famous Americans and Europeans, children,
and women from all walks of life.
Antoinette Frissell was born in 1907 in New York City, New York, but
took photos under the name Toni Frissell, even after her marriage to
Manhattan socialite McNeil Bacon. She worked with many famous
photographers of the day, as an apprentice to Cecil Beaton, and with
advice from Edward Steichen. Her initial job, as a fashion
photographer for Vogue in 1931, was due to Condé Montrose Nast
personally. She later took photographs for Harper's Bazaar. Her
fashion photos, even of evening gowns and such, were often notable
for their outdoor settings, emphasizing active women.
In 1941, Frissell volunteered her photographic services to the
American Red Cross. Later she worked for the Eighth Army Air Force
and became the official photographer of the Women's Army Corps. On
their behalf, she took thousands of images of nurses, front-line
soldiers, WACs, African-American airmen, and orphaned children. She
traveled to the European front twice. Her moving photographs of
military women and African American fighter pilots in the elite 332d
Fighter Group (the "Tuskegee Airmen") were used to encourage public
support for women and blacks in the service.
In the 1950's, she took informal portraits of the famous and
powerful in the United States and Europe, including Winston
Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, and John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy,
and worked for Sports Illustrated and Life magazines. Continuing her
interest in active women and sports, she was the first woman on the
staff of Sports Illustrated in 1953, and continued to be one of very
few female sport photographers for several decades.
In later work she concentrated on photographing women from all walks
of life, often as a commentary on the human condition.
Boom for Brown Beavers, 1939
Lady in the Water, 1947
Woman wearing tennis outfit, seated on wall
Eleanor Roosevelt talking with woman machinist during her goodwill
tour of Great Britain.
African American woman, seated on ground, fishing, at the Tidal
Nuns clamming on Long Island
Red Cross Coffee Wagon, November 1942
Italian Front in the Final Months of the War
Airmen at Ramitelli, Italy, March 1945
John and Jacqueline Kennedy cut wedding cake, 1953