Born in Ukraine, Sam Lévin settled in Paris in 1906. A freelance photographer for such publications as the New York Times, he established his own studio in 1934. A year later, the Ukrainian photographer was asked to replace a colleague on the set of Jean Renoir’s Great Illusion. A fruitful collaboration was then launched, Sam Lévin becoming the close observer of the director’s films such as The Marseillaise or the Human Beast, but also that of other major directors. At the same time, he had become a recognized portrait photographer, depicting the greatest celebrities of his time, from Gérard Philippe to Josephine Baker to Romy Schneider. His most impactful work was his partnership with Brigitte Bardot. Almost discovering the young actress in the mid 1950s, Sam Lévin helped constitute her public identity with images ‘of sensuality and slight immorality’. He created modern images of a sex symbol capable of rivaling with Hollywood bombshells, a childish yet highly sensual beauty made of tousled hair, bare feet or a not-so-naive bikini.