George Silk Eartha Kitt, El Rancho Vegas, Las Vegas
Medium Silver print
Photo Date 1955 Print Date 1995
Dimensions 12-1/2 x 9-1/4 in. (318 x 235 mm)
Photo Country United States (USA)
Photographer Country United States (USA)
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Photographer's signature in ink in margin on recto.
George Silk (1916-2004) originally from New Zealand became a U.S. citizen in 1947. He was on LIFE Magazine's staff from 1943 - 1972 beginning his career as a combat photographer. Silk photographed his family and friends for this LIFE essay that ran in the October 31, 1960 issue. He used a specially modified photo finish "strip" camera which he had also used earlier to capture events at the Summer Olympic trials in Palo Atlo, Calif. published in the July 18, 1960 issue of LIFE. His interest in race finish cameras began when he covered the 1959 Kentucky Derby. He exposed the camera's film as it rolled past a hole or slit which replaced the original shutter. According to Chris Wild of Mashable, "The camera was portable and the rolling mechanism was powered by the motor from a record player." Silk said, " I was thrilled when the prints showed strength, speed, design -- originality."
Silk was in Nepal on assignment when he received word of LIFE folding. According to the the 1977 book, "That Was the Life" by Dora Jane Hamblin, Silk replied "your message...badly garbled. Please send one-half million dollars additional expenses."
Silk was named Magazine Photographer of the Year four times by the National Press Photographers Association (1961, 1963, 1964, 1965), and honored by the University of Missouri School of Journalism, the World Book Encyclopedia and the New York Art Directors Club. His work is in museums across the globe.
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