Helen Marcus, a late-blooming photographer whose evocative black-and-white portraits of literary figures and film and tv personalities graced e-book jackets and magazine handles for decades, died on Oct. 1 at her house in Manhattan. She was 97.
Her demise was verified by her sister, Irene Feuerstein.
Ms. Marcus’s pictures were disseminated in a vast wide range of venues. Some had been noticed in yearly corporate reviews, and one particular was the model for an etching on a Swedish postage stamp honoring the Nobel Prize-profitable novelist Toni Morrison. She also turned a champion of her fellow industry experts.
Her fame as a photographer, and her leadership role as a defender of her career on challenges of copyright and credit score, were all the more noteworthy mainly because the area at the time was so overwhelmingly dominated by men.
Ms. Marcus founded the New York chapter of the American Culture of Magazine Photographers (later the American Modern society of Media Photographers) in 1982 and served as its nationwide president from 1985 to 1990. From 1998 to 2007, she was president of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, an group, named for the celebrated photojournalist, that was established in 1979 to support independent photographers comprehensive their projects.
Responding to a profile in The New York Moments crediting George Lois, the Madison Avenue art director, with coming up with striking addresses for Esquire journal, Ms. Marcus complained, in a letter to the editor in 2008, that the posting did not adequately acknowledge Carl Fischer, the photographer whose illustrations or photos loomed substantial in several of those models.
“It is akin to publishing photos of the Sistine Chapel and mentioning the pope who paid out for them,” she wrote, “but not the painter.”
Helen Mae Marcus was born on Oct. 28, 1925, in Manhattan. Her mother, Augusta (Hittleman) Marcus, an immigrant from Russia, was a homemaker. Her father, Joseph, owned numerous shoe suppliers.
She graduated from A.B. Davis Higher College in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and earned a bachelor’s degree in theater and economics from Smith Faculty in 1946.
In addition to her sister, she is survived by a brother, Carl. Yet another brother, Bernard, died prior to her.
Right after working with the theater director Hal Prince, Ms. Marcus was an associate producer and a producer from 1955 to 1974 at Goodson-Todman Productions, the company that formulated common television activity reveals like “To Explain to the Truth” and “What’s My Line?”
“Her passion was images, and she grew to become so expert that she lastly deserted television for a career as a skilled,” Ira Skutch, a director who shared an office with Ms. Marcus at Goodson-Todman, wrote in “I Recall Tv: A Memoir” (1989).
At the time Ms. Marcus became a comprehensive-time photographer, her work appeared in Time, Forbes, Gourmet and other journals, and in The New York Situations. Her photographs are included in the permanent collections of the Countrywide Portrait Gallery and the Worldwide Heart of Images.
She was amongst the to start with People invited to China in the late 1970s, in the wake of the Cultural Revolution. She taught at the Parsons School of Style, the School of Visible Arts and the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
Ms. Marcus, who studied with Philippe Halsman, a Existence journal photographer, became identified, like him, for her vivid portraits. Among the her topics ended up the authors Mary Higgins Clark, Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe the actors Kitty Carlisle and Cliff Robertson and the converse-display host Merv Griffin.
In 1977, Toni Morrison was stated to have been dissatisfied with the creator photograph on the jacket for a single of her early textbooks and was seeking an additional photographer for her next 1. Her publisher’s publicist enlisted Ms. Marcus, who invited Ms. Morrison to her spacious condominium and shot four rolls of film of the creator sitting at the dining space desk.
When Ms. Morrison gained the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993 and Swedish postal officials made a decision to honor her with a stamp, she suggested that they contact Ms. Marcus. Her photograph inspired an etching, which appeared on the stamp (with Ms. Marcus’s credit).
“It’s almost certainly the most reproduced photograph I ever built,” Ms. Marcus mentioned in an interview with New Letters journal in 2007.
She offered a different variety of superlative for the novelist Jerzy Kosinski, whom she photographed in his condominium higher than Carnegie Hall. Throughout that session, she reported, she “felt authentic vibes coming from him, and exchanging with you much more than anyone I ever experienced.”
He was, Ms. Marcus included, “probably the sexiest man or woman I ever photographed.”