Hi, Last night tv's channel 2 screened a documentary film made a couple of years ago about Israel's 80s leading model, Tami Ben-Ami.
Among the photos that were shown of this very unique exotic model were some I've contributed to the film's researchers, one of which is featured in "Israel Fashion Art 1948-2008", called in Hebrew
"שיכרון עיצובים - אמנות האופנה בישראל".
The photo (2nd from top) was taken by Menahem Oz and was on the cover of "7 Yamim", "Yedioth Ahronoth"'s weekend magazine. It is only one of several legendary images of Tami which are featured in the book (another one is the top pic. above). In it Tami is wearing a 3 shades of pink feathers cape designed by Ronen Raz, then a budding designer I'd discovered, and now the head of the fashion department at the Avni school of Art & the former head of the Ascola school fashion department. Eventually this cape was also worn by the singing star Ofra Haza for whom Ronen Raz designed some of her performance outfits.
What was missing from the documentary film about Tami Ben-Ami, who like Ofra Haza, left us for a better world way too early, while she was still very young, only 40 yrs. old - was the following story.
Tami who won the "Queen of the Sea" title in a competition held by "Haolam Haze" weekly magazine in the 70s and was a "Gottex" in-house model as well as a catwalk model was never considered for fashion photography until yours truly invited her, for the very first time in her life, for a fashion editorial for "Yedioth Ahronoth". When I called Tami to invite her for the photo shoot which we did with photographer Gerar Alon, she responded by saying: "I don't get photographed for fashion-shoots; I am only a catwalk model." "So from now on, you WILL be photographed," I said. And the rest, as the saying goes: is history.
In those days we still didn't use make-up artists and hairdressers so inaugurating Tami as a photography model, I told her that I have only one request: "come with much less of your usual black eyeshadow." I requested it because I noticed that in her paparazzi gossip-column pictures in which she was caught dancing in some discos - the contour of her eyes disappeared. Her excessive use of black eyeshadow covered her eyelids all the way to her thick eyebrows.
Lacking fashion-photography experience of any kind Tami arrived for the photo-shoot with her excessive usual black eyeshadow insisting that she had put less of it on. "Take more of it off" I urged after which we started the photo shoot. It was a knits fashion editorial and it was spread out on the 7Yamim" centerfold with one of the pictures of Tami ( in a bohemian heavy knit by Haya Nir over tights) dominating the whole length of the page.
It was only after this 1979 editorial that photographers (and eventually Gottex) realized Tami's photographic potential and she was finally given the opportunity to model in the fabulous Gottex catalogs.
It was my pleasure and honor to provide this legendary model of all models the jumping board to fame and glory as the star of the fabled Gottex catalogs.