"I had a lot of model friends, and I just kind of recorded our life," recalls Pamela Hanson, whose candid photographs of larger-than-life models put her on the fashion map. "At that time, the looseness was really unusual." That time was 1980, when Hanson was one of the only a handful female fashion photographers working. That life was in Paris, where the self-taught photographer (she started taking pictures at 13, and had a darkroom in her basement) got her break when the art directors of Per Lui and Elle magazines discovered her reportage-style images of her "super" friends. Ok, sure, it's nearly impossible to take a bad picture of Naomi or Christy. But through Hanson's eyes, we get to see their charm, their natural beauty, their soul. Above all, Hanson's gaze is one of optimism—something that feels oh-so refreshing right now.
Pamela on Nadège du Bospertus"This was a story on Ralph Lauren, who was huge at the time. We shot it in the streets of New York. In those days, we would just shoot in the street, no permits, not a lot of equipment. You could just drive around and shoot."
Nadège du Bospertus, New York, 1990
Hanson on Naomi Campbell
"This was in Paris. We were doing a shoot for French Vogue, and this was just between shots. I always had my Leica with me, and would always do personal snapshots. I wanted to stop for a cup of coffee and Naomi's having a Coke. I first worked with her when she was 16; we did a story for Elle in Deauville. I really love Naomi...She was always late, but she was always so much fun."
Naomi Campbell, Paris 1990
Pamela on Yasmeen Ghauri
"My God, I love Yasmeen. I used to shoot her a lot. This is an outtake from a shoot we did in Rome. We started early that morning and took all of the clothes with us, and we just spent all day outside shooting. This was the end of the day in a bar. We had zero budget, and you didn't even think about it. And the models didn't complain. It was kind of like spending the day with all of your friends."
Yasmeen Ghauri, Rome, 1990
Pamela on Uma Thurman
"Uma was 156 here on a shoot for GQ somewhere in Massachusetts, at a farm outside of Boston. 1986. I was pregnant. Look how cut she looks. She was 16 but she was pretty mature for her age."
Uma Thurman, Massachusetts, 1986
Pamela on Tyra Banks
"This was in Rome for Italian Glamour. She was already a force when we shot this, and I knew she would go on to doing something more than modeling. She was driven."
Tyra Banks, Rome, 1992
Pamela on Milla Jovovich
"Lei magazine in 1987. I shot it with [stylist] Brand Wolf. Lei was all about those Italian advertiser brands. There were thousands of them, and the clothes were just really bad. That's where Brand was so brilliant, putting jeans and T-shirts under things. The magazine would just send suitcases of just the shit...80s sportswear and bright colors with numbers and writing all over them and all that stuff. But you really could style it however you wanted to, create the story you wanted. That was the saving grace."
Milla Jovovich, Paris, 1987
Pamela on Christy
"Christy has always been really special. Orlando [Pita] had just cut her hair. This sweatshirt picture was just a personal snap. Doesn't she just look amazing? She's got such a good head on her shoulders. She was invested in the industry, but as a job. She really understood when not to let it fuck with her. She developed real friendships over the years with people in the business and I think has kept them. I really don't know anybody else like her."
Christy Turlington, New York, 1990