All about photo: photo contests, photography exhibitions, galleries, schools, books and venues.
Gisèle Freund
Gisèle Freund

Gisèle Freund

Country: France / Germany
Birth: 1908 | Death: 2000

Gisèle Freund was a German-born French photographer and photojournalist, famous for her documentary photography and portraits of writers and artists. Her best-known book, Photographie et société (1974), is about the uses and abuses of the photographic medium in the age of technological reproduction. In 1977, she became President of the French Association of Photographers, and in 1981, she took the official portrait of French President François Mitterrand. She was made Officier des Arts et Lettres in 1982 and Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur, the highest decoration in France, in 1983. In 1991, she became the first photographer to be honored with a retrospective at the Musée National d’art Moderne in Paris (Centre Georges Pompidou). Freund's major contributions to photography include using the Leica Camera (with its ability to house one film roll with 36 frames) for documentary reportage and her early experimentation with Kodachrome and 35 mm Agfacolor, which allowed her to develop a "uniquely candid portraiture style" that distinguishes her in 20th century photography. She is buried at the Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris, France near her home and studio at 12 rue Lalande.

Freund was born into a textile merchant family on 19 December 1908 to Julius and Clara (nee Dressel) Freund, a wealthy Jewish couple in the Schöneberg district of Berlin. Her father, Julius Freund, was a keen art collector with an interest in the work of photographer Karl Blossfeldt, whose close-up studies explored the forms of natural objects. Freund's father bought Gisèle her first camera, a Voigtländer 6x9 in 1925 and a Leica camera as a present for her graduation in 1929. In 1931, Freund studied sociology and art history at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Breisgau, Germany; and from 1932-33 she studied at the Institute for Social, Sciences, University of Frankfurt under Theodor W. Adorno, Karl Mannheim and Norbert Elias (also known as the Frankfurt School). At university, she became an active member of a student socialist group and was determined to use photography as an integral part of her socialist practice. One of her first stories, shot on May 1, 1932, "shows a recent march of anti-fascist students" who had been "regularly attacked by Nazi groups." The photos show Walter Benjamin, a good friend of Freund, and Bertolt Brecht.

In March 1933, a month after Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany, Walter Benjamin fled to Paris on May 30, Gisèle followed him since she was both a socialist activist and a Jew. She escaped to Paris with her negatives strapped around her body to get them past the border guards. Gisèle and Walter Benjamin would continue their friendship in Paris, where Freund would famously photograph him reading at the National Library. They both studied and wrote about art in the 19th and 20th centuries as Freund continued her studies at the Sorbonne. In 1935, Andre Malraux invited Freund to document First International Congress in Defense of Culture in Paris, where she was introduced to and subsequently photographed many of the notable French artists of her day. Freund befriended the famed literary partners, Sylvia Beach of Shakespeare and Company, and Adrienne Monnier of Maison des Amis des Livres. In 1935, Monnier arranged a marriage of convenience for Freund with Pierre Blum so that Freund could obtain a visa to remain in France legally (they officially divorced after the war in 1948).

In 1936, while Sylvia Beach was visiting the United States, Freund moved into Monnier and Beach's shared apartment and they became intimates. When Beach returned, she ended her intimate relationship with Monnier yet maintained a strong friendship with both Monnier and Freund. Freund finished her Ph.D. in Sociology and Art at the Sorbonne in 1936, and Monnier published the doctoral dissertation as "La photographie en France au dix-neuvieme siècle," under the La Maison des Amis des Livres imprint by Monnier.

Monnier introduced Gisèle Freund to the artists and writers who would prove her most captivating subjects. Later that year, Freund became internationally famous with her photojournalistic piece, Northern England, which was published in Life magazine on December 14, 1936 and showed the effects of the depression in England. No magazine in France could publish color photographs at that time, so Freund's work with Life—one of the first color mass magazines—would start a lifelong relationship between the photographer and magazine. In 1938, Monnier suggested that Freund photograph James Joyce for his upcoming book, Finnegans Wake. Joyce, who disliked being photographed, invited Gisèle Freund to his Paris flat for a private screening of her previous work. He was impressed enough by Freund's work to allow her to photograph him, and over a period of three days, she captured the most intimate portraits of Joyce during his time in Paris.

In 1939, after being "twice refused admission to Tavistock Square," Freund gained the confidence of Virginia Woolf and captured the iconic color photographs of the Woolfs on display in the English National Portrait Gallery. Woolf even "agreed to change her clothes to see which best suited the colour harmony and insisted on being photographed with Leonard (and their spaniel Pinka). In some of the prints, Woolf is pale and lined, in others smiling a little and more youthful. The background of fabrics and mural panels by Bell and Grant adds to the value of the images; this was the inner sanctum of the queen of Bloomsbury where parties were given and friends came to tea. Just over a year later the house was destroyed in The Blitz."

On June 10, 1940, with the Nazi invasion of Paris looming, Freund escaped Paris to Free France in the Dordogne. Her husband by convenience, Pierre, had been captured by the Nazis and sent to a prison camp. He was able to escape and met with Freund before going back to Paris to fight in the Resistance. As the wife of an escaped prisoner, a Jew, and a Socialist, Freund "feared for her life." In 1942, with the help of André Malraux, who told his friends, "we must save Gisèle!," Freund fled to Buenos Aires, Argentina "at the invitation of Victoria Ocampo, director of the periodical Sur. Ocampo was at the center of the Argentinean intellectual elite, and through her, Freund met and photographed many great writers and artists, such as Jorge Luis Borges and Pablo Neruda."

While living in Argentina, Freund started a publishing venture called Ediciones Victoria. She writes, "In reality, I started this for the De Gaulle government in exile where I was working in the Information ministry, volontairement without payment." She also founds a relief action committee for French artists and becomes a spokesperson for Free France. In 1947, Freund signed a contract with Magnum Photos as a Latin America contributor, but by 1954, she was declared persona non grata by the U.S. Government at the height of the Red Scare for her socialist views, and Robert Capa forced her to break ties with Magnum. In 1950, her photo coverage of a bejeweled Eva Peron for Life magazine caused a diplomatic stir between the United States and Argentina and upset many of Peron's supporters—the ostentatious photographs went against the official party line of austerity; Life Magazine was blacklisted in Argentina, and once again, Freund had to escape a country with her negatives. She moved to Mexico and became friends with Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco. In 1953, she moved back to Paris permanently. Over the life of her career, she went on over 80 photojournalism assignments, primarily for Life and Time, but also Du, The Sunday Times (London), Vu, Picture Post, Weekly Illustrated, and Paris Match, among others. From the 1960s onward, Freund continued to write, and her reputation as an important portrait photographer grew with each successive exhibition. Gisèle Freund is now celebrated as one of the best portrait photographers of the twentieth century: Upon her death, "President Jacques Chirac praised her as 'one of the world's greatest photographers."

Source: Wikipedia


Ms. Freund was one of Europe's most prominent photographers and a pillar among French feminist intellectuals after settling in Paris in the 1930s. Born to a wealthy Jewish family, she became a student activist who battled the rise of Hitler's national socialism. She studied sociology in Frankfurt but was forced to flee in 1933, escaping as police were about to arrest her.

In Paris, Gisèle Freund pursued doctoral studies at the Sorbonne, where her enthusiasm for photography was met with skepticism. She met militant feminist writer Adrienne Monnier while browsing at La Maison des Amis du Livre, Monnier's book shop on the Left Bank. The shop was frequented by the likes of Simone de Beauvoir, Andre Gide, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Jean-Paul Sartre and Paul Valery. Monnier became her lifelong mentor and companion, introducing her to the Parisian intellectual set and encouraging her to pursue photography.

In 1935, Ms. Freund executed a widely acclaimed series of photographs, documenting the misery of British coal miners, and met Andre Malraux. Her portrait of the author of Man's Fate--wrapped in a trench coat with a cigarette dangling from his mouth--is among her most well-known photographs. Her use of color clashed with the prevailing style of retouched black-and-white studio portraits, but she persevered, saying color "was closer to life." Gisèle Freund specialized in conveying attitudes. She focused on hands, posture and clothing. Some of her most famous photographs appeared in Life and Time magazines.

The Nazi invasion of France in 1940 interrupted her career. Gisèle Freund fled again, to southern France and later Argentina, where she worked until the war's end in 1945. She returned to France, where she earned an international reputation as the photographer of Jean Cocteau, De Beauvoir, Joyce, and Sartre, among others. Her works include Three Days With Joyce, a collection of black-and-white photographs showing the Irish writer with friends and family, and correcting proofs of his novel Finnegan's Wake. "Freund was involved in the lives of the artists and writers she photographed," said art critic Ann Cremin, who knew Ms. Freund. "She was more of a witness than a reporter."

In later years, Gisèle Freund became well-known in her adopted country, winning the National Grand Prize for Photography in 1980. She took the official photograph at the presidential inauguration of Socialist Francois Mitterrand in 1981. She gave up photography in the mid-1980s.

Source: Washington Post


 

Gisèle Freund's Video

Selected Books

Inspiring Portfolios

Call for Entries
Solo Exhibition June 2022
Win an Online Solo Exhibition in June 2022
 
Stay up-to-date  with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events.

More Great Photographers To Discover

Frances Benjamin Johnston
United States
1864 | † 1952
Frances "Fannie" Benjamin Johnston (15 January 1864 – 16 May 1952) was an early American female photographer and photojournalist whose career lasted for almost half a century. She is most known for her portraits, images of southern architecture, and various photographic series featuring African Americans and Native Americans at the turn of the 20th century. The only surviving child of wealthy and well connected parents, she was born in Grafton, West Virginia, raised in Washington, D.C., and studied at the Académie Julian in Paris and the Washington Students League following her graduation from Notre Dame of Maryland Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies in 1883 (now known as Notre Dame of Maryland University). An independent and strong-willed young woman, she wrote articles for periodicals before finding her creative outlet through photography after she was given her first camera by George Eastman, a close friend of the family, and inventor of the new, lighter, Eastman Kodak cameras. She received training in photography and dark-room techniques from Thomas Smillie, director of photography at the Smithsonian. She took portraits of friends, family and local figures before working as a freelance photographer and touring Europe in the 1890s, using her connection to Smillie to visit prominent photographers and gather items for the museum's collections. She gained further practical experience in her craft by working for the newly formed Eastman Kodak company in Washington, D.C., forwarding film for development and advising customers when cameras needed repairs. In 1894 she opened her own photographic studio in Washington, D.C., on V Street between 13th and 14th Streets, and at the time was the only woman photographer in the city. She took portraits of many famous contemporaries including Susan B. Anthony, Mark Twain and Booker T. Washington. Well connected among elite society, she was commissioned by magazines to do "celebrity" portraits, such as Alice Roosevelt's wedding portrait, and was dubbed the "Photographer to the American court." She photographed Admiral Dewey on the deck of the USS Olympia,[6] the Roosevelt children playing with their pet pony at the White House and the gardens of Edith Wharton's famous villa near Paris. Her mother, Frances Antoinette Johnston, had been a congressional journalist and dramatic critic for the Baltimore Sun and her daughter built on her familiarity with the Washington political scene by becoming official White House photographer for the Harrison, Cleveland, McKinley, "TR" Roosevelt, and Taft presidential administrations. Johnston also photographed the famous American heiress and literary salon socialite Natalie Barney in Paris but perhaps her most famous work, shown here, is her self-portrait of the liberated "New Woman", petticoats showing and beer stein in hand. Johnston was a constant advocate for the role of women in the burgeoning art of photography. The Ladies' Home Journal published Johnston's article "What a Woman Can Do With a Camera" in 1897[9] and she co-curated (with Zaida Ben-Yusuf) an exhibition of photographs by twenty-eight women photographers at the 1900 Exposition Universelle, which afterwards travelled to Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and Washington, DC. She traveled widely in her thirties, taking a wide range of documentary and artistic photographs of coal miners, iron workers, women in New England's mills and sailors being tattooed on board ship as well as her society commissions. While in England she photographed the stage actress Mary Anderson, who was a friend of her mother. In 1899, she gained further notability when she was commissioned by Hollis Burke Frissell to photograph the buildings and students of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Hampton, Virginia in order to show its success. This series, documenting the ordinary life of the school, remains as some of her most telling work. It was displayed at The Exhibit of American Negroes of the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900. She photographed events such as world's fairs and peace-treaty signings and took the last portrait of President William McKinley, at the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 just before his assassination. With her partner, Mattie Edwards Hewitt, a successful freelance home and garden photographer in her own right, she opened a studio in New York in 1913 and moved in with her mother and aunt. Hewitt wrote Johnston love letters over the course of their relationship, which are chronicled in "The Woman Behind the Lens: The Life and Work of Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1864–1952." Many of the early letters focused on Hewitt's admiration for Johnston's work, but as their romance progressed, they became increasingly full of words of love: "...when I need you or you need me — [we] must hold each other all the closer and with your hand in mine, holding it tight..." She lectured at New York University on business for women and they produced a series of studies of New York architecture through the 1920s. In early 1920 her mother died in New York. In the 1920s, she became increasingly interested in photographing architecture, motivated by a desire to document buildings and gardens which were falling into disrepair or about to be redeveloped and lost. As her focus in architecture grew, she became specifically interested in documenting the architecture of the American South. Johnston was interested in preserving the everyday history of the American South through her art; she accomplished this by photographing barns, inns, and other ordinary structures. She was not interested in photographing the grand homes and estates of the American South, but rather the quickly deteriorating structures in these communities that portrayed the life of common southerners. Her photographs remain an important resource for modern architects, historians and conservationists. She exhibited a series of 247 photographs of Fredericksburg, Virginia, from the decaying mansions of the rich to the shacks of the poor, in 1928. The exhibition was entitled Pictorial Survey--Old Fredericksburg, Virginia--Old Falmouth and Nearby Places and described as "A Series of Photographic Studies of the Architecture of the Region Dating by Tradition from Colonial Times to Circa 1830" as "An Historical Record and to Preserve Something of the Atmosphere of An Old Virginia Town." Publicity from the display prompted the University of Virginia to hire her to document its buildings and the state of North Carolina to record its architectural history. Louisiana hired Johnston to document its huge inventory of rapidly deteriorating plantations and she was given a grant in 1933 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York to document Virginia's early architecture. This led to a series of grants and photographs of eight other southern states, all of which were given to the Library of Congress for public use. In December 1935, she began a year long project to capture the less evolved structures of the Colonial Era in Virginia. This was effort was intended to be a one year project, but evolved into an eight year extensive project, in which she surveyed 50,000 miles and 95 counties in Virginia. Johnston was named an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects for her work in preserving old and endangered buildings and her collections have been purchased by institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Although her relentless traveling was curtailed by petrol rationing in the Second World War the tireless Johnston continued to photograph. Johnston acquired a home in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1940, retiring there in 1945, where she died in 1952 at the age of eighty-eight.Source: Wikipedia
Annie Leibovitz
United States
1949
Annie Leibovitz is an American portrait photographer best known for her engaging portraits, particularly of celebrities, which often feature subjects in intimate settings and poses. Leibovitz's Polaroid photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, taken five hours before Lennon's murder, is considered one of Rolling Stone magazine's most famous cover photographs. The Library of Congress declared her a Living Legend, and she is the first woman to have a feature exhibition at Washington's National Portrait Gallery.Source: Wikipedia Annie Leibovitz was born on October 2, 1949, in Waterbury, Connecticut. While studying painting at the San Francisco Art Institute, she took night classes in photography, and in 1970, she began doing work for Rolling Stone magazine. She became Rolling Stone’s chief photographer in 1973. By the time she left the magazine, 10 years later, she had shot 142 covers. In 1983, she joined the staff at Vanity Fair, and in 1998, she also began working for Vogue. In addition to her magazine editorial work, Leibovitz has created influential advertising campaigns for American Express and the Gap and has contributed frequently to the Got Milk? campaign. She has worked with many arts organizations, including American Ballet Theatre, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Mark Morris Dance Group, and with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Her books include Annie Leibovitz: Photographs (1983), Photographs: Annie Leibovitz 1970–1990 (1991), Olympic Portraits (1996), Women (1999), American Music (2003), A Photographer’s Life: 1990–2005 (2006), Annie Leibovitz at Work (2008), Pilgrimage (2011), Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016 (2017), The Early Years, 1970–1983 (2018), and Wonderland (2021). Exhibitions of her images have appeared at museums and galleries all over the world, including the National Portrait Gallery and the Corcoran Gallery, in Washington, D.C.; the International Center of Photography, in New York; The Brooklyn Museum; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; the Centre National de la Photographie, in Paris; and the National Portrait Gallery in London. Leibovitz has been designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress and is the recipient of many other honors, including the Barnard College Medal of Distinction and the Infinity Award in Applied Photography from the International Center of Photography. She was decorated a Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. She lives in New York with her three children, Sarah, Susan, and Samuelle.Source: Vanity Fair Leibovitz became Rolling Stone’s chief photographer in 1973, and by the time she left the magazine, she had amassed 142 covers and published photo essays on scores of stories, including the 1975 Rolling Stones tour. Moments of freedom and an unyielding imagination fed the evolution of Leibovitz’s photography. The monumental body of work taken during her thirteen-year tenure at Rolling Stone blurred the lines between celebrity and civilian, interviewer and interviewee, artist and subject, dissolving the boundary separating Leibovitz from those captured in her photographs. Documenting fellow reporters and photographers in addition to their subjects, Leibovitz highlighted those hidden behind the camera and brought them to the forefront. Leibovitz recorded major political moments of the Seventies in the United States, including the 1972 presidential campaign, which she covered with the writer Hunter S. Thompson. In a haunting photograph taken when President Richard Nixon resigned, on August 9, 1974, Leibovitz’s camera records his helicopter as it takes off from the White House lawn. Her immersion within the political landscape extended to photographs from the 1976 election, when figures such as Jerry Brown and Jimmy Carter seized national attention. The artist photographed the Democratic National Convention in New York City, showcasing candid moments with Dianne Feinstein and journalists such as Sally Quinn and Dan Rather. Leibovitz’s unobtrusive lens implicates both the photographer and her colleagues as significant actors and contributors to cultural moments. When traveling with the Rolling Stones to document their tour of the Americas in the summer of 1975, Leibovitz entered the band’s world to such a degree that only her camera served as a reminder of her identity. It was Leibovitz’s distinct ability to immerse herself in varying environments that enabled a direct engagement with her subjects, revealing their true, honest, and perhaps most vulnerable selves. Leibovitz began using a medium-format camera that produced square photographs and was appropriate for shooting set-up portraits with a strobe light. The planned portraits were based on a straightforward idea often stemming from a deeply personal collaboration with her subjects. Evidencing a level of uncanny intimacy and an uncommon depth of engagement, this relationship can be seen in one of her most celebrated photographs, in which a naked John Lennon clutches Yoko Ono. The portrait, made on December 8, 1980, was meant to serve as an intimate emblem of the couple’s relationship. When Lennon was killed just hours after the photo was taken, the image became a powerful visual memorial. In 1983, when Leibovitz joined the staff of the revived Vanity Fair, she was established as the foremost rock-music photographer and an astute documentarian of the social landscape. At Vanity Fair, and later at Vogue, she developed a large body of work – portraits of actors, directors, writers, musicians, athletes, and political and business figures, as well as fashion photographs. Leibovitz’s portraiture reflects a signature technique she developed early in her career, as she consciously and consistently fit style to subject through collaborating with her subjects, photographing them in their homes or in a location that meant something to them, where friends, lovers, children, and other personal markers might appear. Annie Leibovitz’s prolific output and her inventive approach to photography itself position her distinctly within the traditions and trajectory of American portraiture during the twentieth century. Her unique photographic language dovetailed with – and advanced – the medium’s evolution as a force for art making. The singularity of her vision, which included combining portraiture with photojournalism that captured historical and cultural touchstones throughout the United States and abroad, places her within a lineage of some of her personal heroes – artists like Andy Warhol and Richard Avedon, both innovators of their mediums. Influences such as Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson inspired Leibovitz to turn the tide on photography’s reception. Combining Frank’s highly personal and emotional style of photographic reportage with Cartier-Bresson’s Surrealist and even sculptural art photography, Leibovitz embraced her own inclination toward personal journalism. The artist’s large and distinguished body of work encompasses some of the most well-known portraits of our time.Source: Hauser & Wirth
Jacques Henri Lartigue
France
1894 | † 1986
Jacques Henri Lartigue is 69 years old in 1963 when he first presents a selection of his many photographs taken throughout his life in New York’s MoMa. That same year there is a photo spread of his work in the famous Life Magazine issue which commemorates the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and which is publicized worldwide. To his great surprise, Lartigue becomes, overnight, one of the renowned photographers of the twentieth century. Jacques learns about photography from his father as early as the year 1900. Henri Lartigue rewards Jacques’s enthusiasm by buying him his first camera when he is 8 years old. Thus begins the endless coverage of his childhood, including automobile outings, family holidays and especially his older brother Maurice’s (nicknamed Zissou) inventions. Both brothers are fascinated by cars, aviation, and all sports with increasing popularity at the time. Jacques’s camera freezes each moment. As an adult he continues to attend sporting events and to take part in elite sports such as skiing, skating, tennis and golf. However, ever mindful of the passage of time, photography is not quite enough to capture his childhood memories. A snapshot cannot encompass all there is to say and to remember. He thus begins keeping a journal and will continue to do so his whole life. Furthermore, as if to engage in a more renowned activity, he takes up drawing and painting. In 1915 he briefly attends the Julian Academy and thus painting becomes and remains his main professional activity. From 1922 on he exhibits his work in shows in Paris and in the south of France. In the meantime, in 1919, Jacques marries Madeleine Messager, the daughter of the composer André Messager, and their son Dani is born in 1921. Jacques and Madeleine get a divorce in 1931. He revels in high society and luxury until the beginning of the 1930’s until the decline of the Lartigue fortune forces him to search for other sources of income. He refuses however to take on a steady job and thus lose his freedom, and so he scarcely gets by with his painting during the 30’s and 40’s. In the beginning of the 1950’s and not in accordance with the legend in which he is a complete unknown, his work as a photographer is noticed. He nevertheless continues to paint. He embarks on a cargo ship to Los Angeles in 1962 with his third wife Florette. In a roundabout way, they stop on the East Coast and meet Charles Rado of the Rapho Agency who in turn contacts John Szwarkoski, MoMa’s photography department young curator. There is all-around enthusiasm. The first retrospective of his work is held in Paris’ “Musée des Arts Décoratifs” in 1975. One year earlier, Lartigue was commissioned by the President of France Valéry Giscard d’Estaing to shoot an official portrait photograph. In 1979 the Donation Agreement is signed and Lartigue becomes the first living French photographer to donate his work to the nation. He authorizes the Association des Amis de Jacques Henri Lartigue to preserve and promote the fund. In 1980, his dream of having his own museum comes true with the Grand Palais’ exhibit “Bonjour Monsieur Lartigue”. He continued his work as a photographer, painter and writer until his death in Nice on September 12th 1986. He was 92 years old. He left us with more than 100 000 snapshots, 7 000 pages of diary, 1 500 paintings. Source: Jacques-Henri Lartigue Donation
Ilse Bing
Germany
1899 | † 1998
Ilse Bing was one of the leading European photographers of the interwar period. She was born into a comfortable Jewish family in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1899. As a child her education was rich in music and art. In 1920 she began studying mathematics and physics at the University of Frankfurt, but soon changed to study the history of art. In 1924 she continued her studies with a doctorate on the Neo-Classical German architect Friedrich Gilly. Bing's introduction to photography was triggered by a practical need to illustrate her doctoral thesis. She bought a Voigtlander camera in 1928 and began to teach herself photography. The following year she bought a Leica, the new and revolutionary 35mm hand-held camera that enabled photographers to capture fast-moving events. As well as enabling her to photograph buildings for her thesis, Bing's newfound skill with the camera earned her an extra living as a photojournalist for a German illustrated magazine supplement, Das Illustriete Blatt. During these early days of her career, Bing was also commissioned by the Dutch modernist architect Mart Stam, who taught at the Bauhaus school of design, to visually record all of his housing projects in Frankfurt. The resulting photographs were characterized by dizzy angles, flat planes and strong shadows, which were characteristic of an emerging modernist language of art and design, pioneered by both the new architecture and the 'New Photography' movement, of which Bing was beginning to be a part. Through Stam, Bing was also introduced to Frankfurt's avant-garde artistic circles. Having found some commercial success with photography, and with her artistic horizons expanding, Bing gave up her thesis in the summer of 1929 and, in 1930, decided to move to Paris to concentrate on photography. Establishing herself in Paris as a freelance photographer, she applied elements of the photographic style she had experimented with in Frankfurt to commercial work, including photojournalism, architectural and theatrical photography, advertising, fashion and portraiture. For the first couple of years in the city, she published her work regularly with German newspapers and Das Illustriete Blat. Gradually, she also started to publish work in the leading French illustrated newspapers such as L'Illustration, Le Monde Illustré and Regards, and from about 1932, she increasingly worked for fashion magazines Vogue, Adam, Marchal, and the American Harper's Bazaar. She explored Paris' rich historic past and its worn and weathered environments as well as its modern urban scenes, photographing the exhausted grandeur of the Père Lachaise cemetery, dark apartment blocks reflected in gutters, or the layering of torn posters on a wooden fence. Her fascination with shadow, contrasts of light and dark, and basic geometrical shapes also informed her portraiture. Her photograph of a young girl (Flower Girl, 1931) staring into the distance demonstrates her skill as a portraitist. The large flowers in the background contrast with the delicate bright flowers on the girl's dress, and the shadows behind highlight the bright young face. When on assignment, Bing would take extra pictures for her own artistic interests, and she quickly built up a large body of work. During a commission to photograph the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret, for example, she made a series of photographs of dancers, which formed her first exhibition in Paris in 1931. Later that year, her photographs caught the attention of the photographer and critic Emmanuel Sougez, who praised their dynamism. Nicknaming Bing 'the Queen of the Leica', Sougez continued to be an important and influential supporter of her work throughout the 1930s. In 1931 Bing met the New York-based writer Hendrik Willem van Loon, who became her most important patron and introduced her work to American clients. Van Loon showed her work to the collector and gallerist Julien Lévy, who subsequently displayed her work in the exhibition Modern European Photography: Twenty Photographers at his New York Gallery in 1932. Bing also frequently exhibited in Parisian galleries, where her work was shown alongside that of Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Florence Henri, Man Ray and André Kértesz. In a trip to New York, Bing met Alfred Stieglitz, a leading figure in the American photographic world and great supporter of modern photography. We can see the influence of Stieglitz's vision on the photographs Bing made of the city following their meeting. In Bing's image of a carriage in Central park, the cropped dark outline of the carriage and its driver dominate the composition, providing a stark contrast to the wispy trees and gentle cityscape in the background – stylistically reminiscent of Stieglitz's work The Terminal (1892). Bing also absorbed the styles of other contemporary American artists – some of whom she met through Stieglitz. Her street scenes, for example Barber College, New York (1936), can be likened to scenes from contemporary American realist painting. After returning to Paris in 1937, Bing married the German pianist Konrad Wolff, whom she had met in 1933 when they lived in the same block of flats. Bing kept her maiden name for her photographic activities, but also used the name Ilse Bing Wolff. She took fewer photographs during the late 1930s, though she continued to find inspiration in Paris, and explored different subject-matter, including still life work. The outbreak of the Second World War changed everything. In 1940 Bing and Wolff, who were both Jewish, were forced to leave Paris and were interned in separate camps in the south of France. Bing spent six weeks in a camp in the Pyrenees, before rejoining her husband in Marseille. The couple spent nine months there, awaiting visas for the US. Eventually, with the support of the fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar, they were able to leave for the US in June 1941. Although Bing had managed to take her negatives with her, she left all of her prints behind in Paris under the safekeeping of a friend. They were sent on to Marseille but Bing and her husband had left already France by the time they arrived. The prints remained in Marseille – in a shipping company's warehouse – miraculously missing the many bombs that fell on the port, until the end of the War, when they were finally sent to Bing in New York. Tragically, when they arrived, Bing was unable to pay the customs duty for all of them. She had to sift through the prints and decide which to keep and which to throw away – some of her most important vintage prints were lost at this time. Five years after her successful visit to New York in 1936, Bing returned to an altogether different environment. This was partly due to changing fashions in photography, and partly because of the large number of photographers who had, like Bing, fled Europe and were now seeking work. Bing found it hard to gain commissions for reportage work and worked much less as a photojournalist from this point on, though she continued to take portraits – especially of children – and exhibited her work throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s. Bing returned to Paris twice after the war, in 1947 and in 1952, and once again photographed the city that she had loved so much in the 1930s. According to Bing, these later Paris photographs are infused with a different spirit. Influenced by the war, she saw things on a more impersonal, isolated level. In the late 1950s, Bing eventually gave up photography, wanting to make more abstract work through poems and line drawings, and later, collage.Source: Victoria and Albert Museum
Charles Harbutt
United States
1935 | † 2015
Charles Henry Harbutt (July 29, 1935 – June 30, 2015) was an American photographer, a former president of Magnum, and full-time Associate Professor of Photography at Parsons School of Design in New York. Harbutt was born in Camden, New Jersey, and raised in Teaneck, New Jersey, and learned much of his photography skills from the township's amateur camera club. He attended Regis High School in New York City where he took photographs for the school newspaper. He later graduated from Marquette University. Harbutt's work is deeply rooted in the modern photojournalist tradition. For the first twenty years of his career he contributed to major magazines in the United States, Europe and Japan. His work was often intrinsically political, exhibiting social and economic contingencies. In 1959, while working as a writer and photographer for the Catholic magazine Jubilee, he was invited by members of the Castro underground to document the Cuban Revolution on the strength of three photographs he had published in Modern Photography. An editor at Jubilee while Harbutt was working there, Robert Lax, used photographs taken by Harbutt for the front and back cover of his first book of poetry, The Circus of the Sun. Harbutt joined Magnum Photos and was elected president of the organization twice, first in 1979. He left the group in 1981, citing its increasingly commercial ambitions and the desire to pursue more personal work. He taught photography workshops, exhibited in solo and group shows around the world, and joined the faculty of the Parsons School of Design at New School University as a full-time professor, in addition to serving as guest artist at MIT, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Rhode Island School of Design. Harbutt was a founding member of Archive Pictures Inc., an international documentary photographers' cooperative, and a member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers. His work was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of American History, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the U.S. Library of Congress, George Eastman House, the Art Institute of Chicago, the International Center of Photography, the Center for Creative Photography, and at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Beaubourg, and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris. In 1997, his negatives, master prints, and archives were acquired for the collection of the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona. He mounted a large exhibition of his work at the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City in December 2000 and received the medal of the City of Perpignan at a retrospective of his work there in 2004. He died in Monteagle, Tennessee, on June 30, 2015, at the age of 79. He had emphysema.Source: Wikipedia Charles Harbutt’s early fascination with magic and the elusive line between perception and reality steered him toward journalism and its documentary role, first as a writer. But he altered his course in 1959, when he was 23, after being invited by Cuban rebels to document the Castro revolution. Immersing himself in Havana’s convulsive and euphoric newfound freedom, he recalled, “I soon understood that I could get closer to the feel of things by taking pictures.” Mr. Harbutt went on to become an accomplished photojournalist for major magazines and the renowned agency Magnum Photos. “He and Burk Uzzle took photojournalism and pushed it in a direction away from literalism or classicism,” Jeff Jacobson, a former colleague, told The New York Times, referring to a contemporary whose pictures of the Woodstock music festival in 1969 gained wide attention, “away from certainly the European paradigm of Cartier-Bresson, and away from the narrative paradigm of Gene Smith to something very, very different, very involved with metaphor.” But Charles Harbutt became disillusioned with his craft, questioning the veracity of the events he was covering, particularly after witnessing undercover government agents provoke violence at a rally in New Haven in 1970 in support of jailed Black Panthers. “The kinds of stories I chose to do, I later realized, were mostly about American myths,” he wrote in his last book, Departures and Arrivals (2012). “I photographed small towns, immigrants, the barrio in New York, and then the enormous changes that came with the ’60s. I tried to be a witness as well as show my feelings about all of this. But maybe I had a sell-by time — expiration date — for being a witness,” he continued. “In the early ’70s, I started questioning this reportage for myself. A host of manipulators had so corrupted and warped public events, I could no longer trust the authenticity of what I was seeing. I realized that I was more interested in pajamas on a bed one Brooklyn morning, or a Dublin woman hauling groceries to her house, than I was in the machinations of politics and history ‘writ large.’ ” Mr. Harbutt experimented with surreal composition and juxtaposition of quotidian forms in a style he described as personal documentary and facetiously branded “superbanalisms.” Among his most famous black-and-white photographs was one of a blind boy, seemingly trying to transcend his sightlessness by reaching for a ribbon of light on a wall. In another, a bride in a flowing white gown poses pensively below exposed pipes and empty tables in a large basement before her wedding reception. Charles Harbutt’s own favorite, called “Mr. X-Ray Man,” was shot through a car window on the Rue du Départ near the Montparnasse train station in Paris, where fragments of the cityscape and even of the photographer himself can be seen reflected in the glass. What made it special was that it was unexpected, he explained in Arrivals and Departures. “What I like best,” he wrote, “is that however the picture is made, it’s a surprise to me when I see the photo come up in the developer.”Source: The New York Times
Ellen Cantor
United States
Advertisement
Solo Exhibition June 2022
POTW
Solo Exhibition June 2022

Latest Interviews

Exclusive Interview with  Diana Cheren Nygren
Diana Cheren Nygren is a fine art photographer from Boston, Massachusetts. Her work explores the relationship of people to their physical environment and landscape as a setting for human activity. Her photographs address serious social questions through a blend of documentary practice, invention, and humor.
Exclusive Interview with  Castro Frank
Castro Frank is a Los Angeles based visual artist who has translated his personal experiences of growing up in the San Fernando Valley into a signature journalistic and candid approach to photography.
Exclusive Interview with Emerald Arguelles
Emerald Arguelles is a photographer and editor based in Savannah, GA. As a young visual artist, Emerald has become an internationally recognized photographer through her explorations and capturing of Black America.
Exclusive Interview with  Dave Krugman
Dave Krugman is a New York based Photographer, Cryptoartist, and Writer, and is the founder of ALLSHIPS, a Creative Community based on the idea that a rising tide raises all ships. He is fascinated by the endless possibilities that exist at the intersection of art and technology, and works in these layers to elevate artists and enable them to thrive in a creative career. As our world becomes exponentially more visual, he seeks to prove that there is tremendous value in embracing curiosity and new ideas.
Exclusive Interview with  Lenka Klicperova
I first discovered Lenka Klicperová's work through the submission of her project 'Lost War' for the November 2021 Solo Exhibition. I chose this project for its strength not only because of its poignant subject but also for its humanist approach. I must admit that I was even more impressed when I discovered that it was a women behind these powerful front line images. Her courage and dedication in covering difficult conflicts around the world is staggering. We asked her a few questions about her life and work.
Exclusive Interview with  James Hayman
James Hayman is a photographer as well as a film / television director, producer, and cinematographer based in Los Angeles. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive Interview with John Simmons
John Simmons is a multi-talented artist whose work has spanned across decades. Born in Chicago and coming of age during the Civil Rights Era, Simmons' photography started at the peak of political and racial tension of the 1960s, mentored by a well known Chicago Civil Rights photographer, Bobby Sengstacke.
Exclusive Interview with Nick Brandt About The Day May Break
Photographed in Zimbabwe and Kenya in late 2020, The Day May Break is the first part of a global series portraying people and animals impacted by environmental degradation and destruction. An ambitious and poetic project picturing people who have all been badly affected by climate change - some displaced by cyclones that destroyed their homes, others such as farmers displaced and impoverished by years-long severe droughts. We asked Nick Brandt a few questions about the project.
Exclusive Interview with Barbara Cole
For the last forty-five years, artist Barbara Cole has been recapturing the otherworldly mysteries of early photography in a body of work that flows in and out of time.
Call for Entries
Solo Exhibition June 2022
Win an Online Solo Exhibition in June 2022