NEW YORK — Garry Gross, a fashion photographer known for his 1970s nude images of Brooke Shields, taken when she was 10 years old, has died in Manhattan, his sister said Tuesday. He was 73.
His sister, Linda Gross, said he died Nov. 30 from a heart attack at his home in the Greenwich Village neighborhood. "He'll be sorely missed by family and friends alike," his sister said when reached by The Associated Press by telephone at his studio.
Though Garry Gross earned his reputation as a celebrity image-maker – his pictures graced the covers of albums by Whitney Houston and Lou Reed – in 2002 he switched careers and became certified as a dog trainer.
Most recently, he had turned to photographing portraits of canines, including such notable dogs as talk show host Rachael Ray's pit bull Isaboo.
But it was the 1970s images of Shields that marked his career most significantly.
In 1975, the actress' mother, Teri Shields, consented to allow her daughter, then a child model, to be photographed nude for a Playboy Press publication. She and her mother earned $450 for the shoot, which included a full-frontal nude image of the girl standing in a bathtub.
When Shields' acting career took off years later, she said she was embarrassed by the continued circulation of the images. At 17, Shields sued Gross in New York to stop him from selling the images, arguing they were an invasion of her privacy and caused her embarrassment.
But after a lower court granted her an injunction, the state's Court of Appeals decided 4 to 3 that the teenager could not break the contract signed by her mother that allowed Gross to take the pictures.
The court said Gross could continue to market the photos except to pornographic publications.
The photo shoot continued to make headlines decades later. In 2009, one of the images, appropriated by American artist Richard Prince for a work, had to be withdrawn by the Tate Modern museum in London after Scotland Yard warned that the image could break obscenity laws.
Jane Feldman, who managed the studio on Broadway and East 20th Street where the photographs of Shields were taken, said they were part of a series intended to explore young women coming of age.
"Garry saw it as art," she said. "It's an exploration, but it was done with great respect," she added. "Yes, it's intriguing, it's provocative."
But she said the protracted court battle cost him his career, saddling him with legal fees and marring his reputation among art directors.
"He went through periods of times where he was really angry about it," she said.
Gross was born in New York City on Nov. 6, 1937. After college, he studied under photographers Francesco Scavullo, Lisette Model and Richard Avedon.
After winning the court case against Shields in 1981, Gross went to Italy, where he worked for an agency. Upon returning to the U.S., he left the fashion industry and became a dog trainer in 2002.
It was while training dogs that he became interested in photographing them and soon grew interested in the plight of senior dogs, his sister said.
"He was very concerned about the destiny of old dogs," Linda Gross said. "When their owners die, they end up in shelters. But people don't typically want to take them home."
She said he had hoped to produce a book about aging dogs and had taken many photographs for the yet-unpublished work.