Legendary American photographer Larry Fink dies at the age of 82

Photographer Larry Fink attends the International Center of Photography's 2019 Infinity Awards held at Zeigfeld Theater on April 2, 2019 in New York City
Photographer Larry Fink attends the International Center of Photography's 2019 Infinity Awards held at Zeigfeld Theater on April 02 2019 in New York City (Image credit: MediaPunch Inc / Alamy Stock Photo)

American photographer Larry Fink has died, aged 82. 

Fink photographed a wide range of subjects, from family portraits to boxing, and his black-and-white images captured emotion and glamour in equal measure. 

He was best known for his series Social Graces, a body of work made in the Seventies that highlighted the contrasting lives of Manhattan elites with the working-class people of Pennsylvania. He captured elites in high-end fashionable clubs and events, and the people of Pennsylvania at everyday events such as school discos and birthday parties. Social Graces was realized as an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1979, and published in a monograph in 1984. 

Larry Fink was born in 1941 in Brooklyn and grew up in New York City. He started taking photographs at the age of 13 and later was given tutelage in photography by the great Lisette Model, whose work became a huge influence. 

Fink 1979 exhibition “Social Graces” at New York's MoMA juxtaposed black-and-white photos of wealthy New Yorkers against shots of ordinary families from Martins Creek, Pennsylvania (Image credit: Larry Fink | Aperture Direct)

Fink took photographs for the next six decades, working in many different genres including fashion, portraiture, sports, and documentary. He shot the Vanity Fair Oscar Party from 2000 to 2009, using his flash to provide insight into one of the most exclusive events of the year. The images captured are now tableaus of celebrities frozen in time and have highly influenced the way celebrity events are photographed today. 

Most recently Fink has been shooting away from the glitz and glam of Hollywood, instead turning his lens to quiet and contemplative still lives around his rural Pennsylvania property. 

Robert Mann, of Robert Mann Gallery, announced the news on November 25, stating that his dear friend and colleague had passed and that he would be greatly missed. 

"He was a dear friend and a real free spirit," Mann told the press. "I’ve known people like Robert Frank and Ansel Adams, and Larry stood out. He was an exceptional and unique individual, a very unconventional man – not only in his personality but in his photography."

Fink's work will forever be an inspiration to many.  

Take a look at the 50 best photographers ever, Ansel Adams and Robert Frank among them. 

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Kalum Carter
Staff Writer

Kalum Carter is a UK-based photographer, writer, and photo editor. Kalum has been working as a freelance photographer for the best part of ten years, covering a wide range of assignments for well-known brands and publications in areas including portraiture, fashion, and documentary. 


Between commercial assignments, Kalum is currently working on a personal photography project exploring his connection to the Gower region of South Wales UK, as part of an MA in Photography from The University of West England.