Girls, Girls, Girls!

As I was researching Jan Lundgren for my post on his novel "Slapptask", I noticed that he had a book on his resumé that I have had on my shelf for years. Twenty years, actually, for this book was published in 1993. It is "Kary H Lasch, flickfotograf" (= "Kary H Lasch, girl photographer") and he wrote it with Jan Boström. It isn´t mine, technically, I bought it as a gift for my husband, but I suppose it was rather self-serving, since I´m really the one interested in girl photography. Or rather, fashion and street photography. Or actually, photography in general.

Kary H Lasch was born in Prague and ended up stranded in Stockholm when the Germans occupied the Sudetenland in 1938. He tried to make a living in trade, but by chance got his hand on a camera, took a picture of a girl in a haystack, and got that on the front page of a Swedish magazine. He had an international career photographing girls: fashion, pinups, movie stars. For years he went to Cannes for the film festival, often with a model of his own in tow. He shot Brigitte Bardot, Gina Lollobridgida, Sophia Loren, and Marcel Marceau. He was friends with Picasso, had lunch with Grace Kelly, and was apparently notorious for stopping traffic if he wanted to use the street to stage a photo.

He used to say, when people asked him what the "H" stood for, that it was "H for hallick" (= pimp). And, he used to add that it wasn´t entirely untrue, since it was the girl photos that earned him his living. (It was H for Hermann, actually.)

The book is filled with fabulous pictures, and some interesting quotes from Lasch (in my own quick and dirty translation).

"I never really took photos of Stockholm. I didn´t think of the city as an object. [...] 

I have taken pictures of people, mostly girls, and animals. I like both dogs and cats. If I see a cat looking funny, I raise my camera. It´s that restrained suppleness. It´s also the movement I notice first in a girl. Her stride. It can be elegant, girlishly cheeky, or very individual. It´s in the movement I find the picture. A still must not be stationary. It must have a direction, a line [of movement]. It´s the way the girl moves that gets me interested in taking her picture. 

Pictures of Stockholm? No, I don´t think I have any. Do I?"
It´s almost impossible to choose just a few snaps from the book to show you, the photos are so amazing, all of them. All the older ladies with their shoes off, makes me remember my childhood, and how all women were wearing shoes just a little too small, for some reason of vanity. And some of the fashionable girls are so dated, while others could have been walking down the street yesterday. Like this girl below, in slacks and sweater, a charm bracelet, espadrilles and natural hair. She is reading Vogue. Compare her to the girls in the background, with their pin curls and very particular late 40´s, early 50´s fashion. The photo is from 1952.

You want to see some contemporary street photography? Check out this, this, or this. There are others, like this one, but that´s more about the fashion, less about photography. You can see more of Kary H Lasch´s photos here, scanned from the book. Unfortunately, the book is out of print, and you´ll be lucky to find one on the second hand market. I think whoever owns the photos should do something with them, make them accessible. Kary H Lasch should not be forgotten.


  1. Hi,
    Have to say this is by far my favourite post so far on your blog. Not only have I just learned about Kary H Lasch today because of you, but I feel slightly ashamed that I didn't know who he was; surely, but surely one should know all about the forefathers of his or her craft! These are INSPIRING photos, and Mr Lasch has taught me a couple of very important lessons, just from the few photos you've posted today. For that I thank you.