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Lisette Model
Lisette Model

Lisette Model

Country: Austria/United States
Birth: 1901 | Death: 1983

Lisette Model was an Austrian-born American photographer. She began her creative life as a student of music. Through avant-garde composer Arnold Schönberg, with whom she studied piano, she became exposed to the Expressionist painters of early twentieth-century Vienna. She never formally studied photography but took it up in the 1930s while living in Paris. An early piece of advice received from a colleague "Never photograph anything you are not passionately interested in", became her motto.

Model's images can be categorized as "street photography," a style which developed after the invention of the hand-held camera, which made quick, candid shots possible. Through her own complicated personal history, she found intensely empathetic connections with her disparate subjects.

Model eventually settled in New York, where she met with quick success as a commercial photographer for Harper's Bazaar magazine and as an artist with her work exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art. For thirty years she taught photography in New York, where she instructed and befriended Diane Arbus.

Source: J.Paul Getty Museum


Lisette Model was born Elise Amelie Felicie Stern in the family home in the 8th district of Vienna, Austria-Hungary. Her father, Victor, was an Italian/Austrian doctor of Jewish descent attached to the Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal Army and, later, to the International Red Cross; her mother Felicie was French and Catholic, and Model was baptized into her mother's faith. She had a brother, Salvatór, who was older by one year. Due to growing anti-Semitism in Austria and her father's struggle with his Jewish-Austrian identity, he had their last name changed to Seybert in February 1903, and six years later, her younger sister Olga was born. According to interview testimony from her older brother, she was sexually molested by her father, though the full extent of his abuse remains unclear.

She had a bourgeois upbringing, was primarily educated by a series of private tutors, achieving fluency in Italian, German, and French. Her private education even when the family suffered financial strain after WWI. Despite her privileged upbringing, she frequently recalled her childhood as difficult. At age 19, she began studying music with composer (and father of her childhood friend Gertrude Arnold Schönberg, and was familiar to members of his circle. "If ever in my life I had one teacher and one great influence, it was Schönberg", she said. There is little known about her art education, but her connection with Schönberg exposed her to the contemporary art scene and leading avant-garde artists such as Gustav Klimt. Early exposure to Expressionism was what perhaps influenced her interest in observing people, and subsequently, photography.

Model left Vienna with Olga and Felicie for Paris after her father died of cancer in 1924 to study voice with Polish soprano Marya Freund in 1926. Felicie and Olga moved on to Nice, but Lisette stayed in Paris, the new cultural hub after WWI, to continue studying music. It was during this period that she met her future husband, the Jewish, Russian-born painter Evsa Model (1901-1976), whom she went on to marry in September 1937. In 1933, she gave up music and recommitted herself to studying visual art, at first taking up painting as a student of Andre Lhote (whose other students included Henri Cartier-Bresson and George Hoyningen-Huene). From 1926 to 1933 she underwent psychoanalysis for childhood trauma, but little is known about what exact issues to she went for other than that it is believed she was molested by her father in her childhood. These years were referred to as her lonely period, as she frequented cafés alone and struggled to immerse herself into a radically different social group than the bourgeoisie class she had grown up surrounded by.

Model bought her first enlarger and camera when she went to Italy. She had little training or interest in photography initially; it was Olga who taught her the basics of photographic technique. Model was most interested in the darkroom process, and wanted to become a darkroom technician. She used her sister as a subject to start her photography. Model claimed that "I just picked up a camera without any kind of ambition to be good or bad", but her friends from Vienna and Paris would go on to say that she had high standards for herself and a strong desire to excel at whatever she did. She also stated that the only lesson she ever got in photography, other than from her sister, was from Rogi André, who told her "Never photograph anything you are not passionately interested in", a quote she would rework later and become well-known for in her teaching career: "Shoot from the gut". André showed Model how to use the Rolleiflex, expanding her practice.

Her decision to become a professional photographer came from a conversation in late 1933 or early 1934 with a fellow Viennese émigré and former student of Schönberg, Hanns Eisler (who had previously fled Germany once Hitler came into power). He warned her about the need to survive during a time of high political tension, pushing her to earn a living by photographing. Visiting her mother in Nice in 1934, Model took her camera out on the Promenade des Anglais and made a series of portraits - published in 1935 in the leftist magazine Regards - which are still among her most widely reproduced and exhibited images. These close-cropped, often clandestine portraits of the local privileged class already bore what would become her signature style: close-up, unsentimental and unretouched expositions of vanity, insecurity and loneliness. Model's compositions and closeness to her subjects were achieved by enlarging and cropping her negatives in the darkroom. Additionally, her use of a 2+1⁄4 inch square negative and larger print size were stylistic choices considered unique at a time when a proliferation of street photographers were embracing what was called the minicam. Later examination of her negatives by archivists reveals that the uncropped images include much of the subjects' physical surroundings. Model's edits in the darkroom eliminate those distractions, tightening the focus on the person and excluding extraneous background information. After the publication of the Promenade des Anglais images, or the Riviera series, Model resumed her Paris street photography practice, this time focusing on the poor.

Neither Evsa nor Lisette was in possession of French citizenship, and they were well aware of building political tension in Europe, so they emigrated to Manhattan in 1938. Their first home was the Art Deco Master Apartments, but it soon became too expensive and they moved several times in their first few years in New York. The couple, especially Evsa, were known to be very social, frequenting cafés, and especially places with performers that Lisette liked to photograph.

Model claimed that she did not take any photographs in the first 18 months she lived in New York, but an envelope dated 1939 contained many negatives of Battery Park, Wall Street, Delancey Street, and the Lower East Side depicting ordinary American people. She quickly became a prominent photographer, and by 1941, she had published her work in Cue, PM's Weekly, and U.S. Camera. She was captivated by the energy of New York City, which she expressed through her separate series Reflections and Running Legs. Interested in American consumerism and a culture very different from her own, Model began photographing Reflections, a series that explored manufactured images, and products or consumers in window reflections. She was recognized for her radical deviation from traditional viewpoint, and preoccupation with notions of glamour and anti-glamour. This series along with her work Running Legs attracted the attention of editors Carmel Snow and Alexey Brodovitch from Harper's Bazaar, a magazine she went on to work for from 1941 through 1955. One of her first assignments was to photograph Coney Island, in which she took some of her most recognized works such as Coney Island Bather". Her vision was of great interest to the editors at Harper's Bazaar, but by the 1950s, her involvement decreased dramatically, and she only published two assignments: A Note on Blindness and Pagan Rome.

In 1944, she and Evsa became naturalized U.S citizens. Letters dated that same year revealed Model's family was financially struggling in Europe, and that her mother had died of cancer on October 21.

Model eventually became a prominent member of the New York Photo League and studied with Sid Grossman. Despite the League's effort to maintain that it was a cultural, photographic organization, political pressure led to the League's demise in 1951. During its existence, Model was an active League member and served as a judge in membership print competitions. In 1941, the League hosted her first solo exhibition. From 1941 to 1953, she was a freelance photographer and contributed to many publications including Harper's Bazaar, Look, and Ladies' Home Journal.

Model's involvement with the New York Photo League became the cause of much strife for her during the McCarthy Era of the 1950s, when the organization came under scrutiny by the House Un-American Activities Committee for suspected connections to the Communist Party. Though the League was not officially a political organization, many of its members used photography as a means for social awareness and change, but Model did not identify herself as a political or documentary photographer. The League was eventually classified as a communist organization by the FBI, who interviewed Model personally in 1954 and attempted to recruit her as an informant. She refused to cooperate with the Bureau, leading to her name being placed on the National Security Watchlist. Because many clients were reluctant to hire somebody who was under FBI suspicion, Model encountered increased difficulty finding opportunities to work, which played a role in her focus shift towards teaching.

In 1949, she taught photography at the San Francisco Institute of Fine Arts. She left for California to teach in part for economic reasons and due to her friendship with Ansel Adams, who extended an informal invitation to a teaching position. She stayed from August until at least November of that year as a "Special instructor in documentary photography" in the Department of Photography. She did not produce much of her own work at that time, possibly because of her failure to receive the Guggenheim Fellowship the previous year.

In spring 1951, Model was invited to teach at the New School for Social Research in New York City, where her longtime friend Berenice Abbott was also teaching photography. The New School had a liberal, humanistic approach to education and a high number of European refugees on staff. Known for her straightforward way of addressing her students, and unorthodox teaching style, Model realized she had a talent for teaching. Her teaching notebooks make frequent references to using children's art as example to show that art was an exploration of the world, and not a replication of what was already in place. She strongly focused on challenging her students to strive for the subjective experience and the utmost creativity, sometimes inspiring students, but alienating others. She did not tolerate lukewarm effort, and was ruthlessly critical of students' work that lacked passion.

She also offered private workshops with Evsa from their apartment. Model's best known pupil was Diane Arbus, who studied under her in 1957, and Arbus owed much of her early technique to Model. Arbus's husband Allan was quoted attributing her development as an artist to Model: "That was Lisette. Three sessions and Diane was a photographer." Larry Fink, Helen Gee, John Gossage, Charles Pratt, Eva Rubinstein and Rosalind Solomon were also students of Model's. For twenty years she taught the program with little variation and routinely followed the same principles. She continued to teach in New York after the passing of her husband Evsa in 1976, both at the New School and at the International Center of Photography. In 1981 she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts by the New School. In 1964, Model once again applied for the Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 1965 she was awarded the fellowship of $5,000 for a period of one year. In 1966 she went to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, with the intention to photograph anti-glamour of American culture. She also went to photograph in Italy, but due to ill health she returned to New York earlier than anticipated, and was diagnosed and successfully treated for uterine cancer.

In the 1970s, Model developed rheumatism in her hands, but continued to diligently teach and photograph. The first book of Model's photographs was published in 1979 by Aperture and included a preface by Berenice Abbott. Marvin Israel designed the book. Fifty-two photographs made from 1937 to 1970 were reproduced at a large enough scale to correspond with her preferred dimension of 16 × 20 inches.

In early 1970 she applied to the Ingram Merrill Foundation and was awarded $2,500, and in March 1973 she received a Creative Artists Public Service Program award for $2,500. In the later half of her career, Model's work underwent a steep drop in print production. She hadn't stopped shooting photographs; she had simply stopped printing them. Much like some of the hazier details of her biography, the reason for this change has not been conclusively identified. Speculation points toward declining health and self-efficacy, increased energy directed towards teaching, and precarious financial situation as some of the primary causes. Nevertheless, Model continued to shoot and teach until her death. She was especially inspired to photograph when away from home, such as her photographs of students in Berkeley in 1973, Lucerne in 1977, Venice in 1979, and so on. She even returned to Nice, France, for the first time in nearly thirty years. However, she did not find the same inspiration there that she once had when photographing her first influential series Promenade des Anglais.

Model's image is included in the iconic 1972 poster Some Living American Women Artists by Mary Beth Edelson.

In January 1976, Evsa suffered a heart attack, which required that he be constantly taken care of and monitored. His health continued to decline until his death later that same year. His death deeply affected Lisette, who continued to live in their basement apartment they had shared for many years.

Even in her twilight hours, her work was exhibited in Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands, to name a few, and in 1982 she received the Medal of the City of Paris. On March 4, she gave her last lecture at Haverford college, and she died at New York Hospital on March 30, 1983 from heart and respiratory disease.

Source: Wikipedia


 

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From that moment, he continued to create short films and video clips, such as Rammstein's Mein Herz Brennt, for example. He is now preparing his first full length film.Although his photographs had already been shown at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid, the BAC (Barcelona Arte Contemporáneo), the Naardeen Photo Festival, the FEM (Festival Edición Madrid), Les Rencontres d'Arles, PhotoEspana, Art Toronto, and the Spanish National Library, it was once again in Paris where he would have his first solo exhibit, "Dream and Storm" at the Bertin-Toublanc Gallery.In 2004 he was given the ABC National Photography Award, in 2009 he won Gold and Bronze Awards at the Sol Festival, and in 2006 and 2013 his photographs won Gold Lions at the Cannes Lions Festival.In 2013 teNeues approached him to create his first solo book, Revue, whose launch will coincide with an exhibit at Camera Work Contemporary in Berlin.Eugenio Recuendo currently lives behind a camera.All about Eugenio Recuendo:AAP:Do you have a mentor or role model?To be honest I only have my intuition.AAP: How long have you been a photographer?I think since I was born. Another question is from what moment afterwards and I began taking pictures. Light and its effects have a great influence on me; I was always conscious of what was happening around me. I think that’s the first need a photographer must have.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?They were some household pictures that I took after my dad finally let me borrow his camera. It was during a school-trip. Those pictures were horrible; and, however they were really symbolic and full of emotions. That’s what magic is all about.AAP: What or who inspires you?Life inspires me.AAP: How would you describe your style?I have no clue. I don’t frown upon a specific style; I just go along doing what I feel is best. I don’t tell myself that things have to be a certain determined way. I start building and end up doing it in a certain way. But it’s all about circumstances, your vibes and needs and priorities when it comes down to transmitting them that end up paving a style for each series.AAP: Do you have favorite pictures or series?I’ve hated all of them at one point or another for not being loyal to what I expected them to be like; and all of them are favorites because there is something from me in all.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?It depends on each cases. Now more digital, Canon and with Hasselblad; always old ones and which treat the image with honesty. That is why I like old ones, ones that have a less forced definition.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?It depends. It's all in the take. After that it's all a question of taking out defects and over all working on the texture and what it looks like in the end.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?A lot of them. For example I love Paolo Ventura.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Shoot and shoot. Above all to shoot what you feel; not what is in fashion.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Trying to go too fast and do what is currently succesful. Because when doing that, success will be in another type of photography.AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?(W)Hole time. A project I would like to take to movie-making. AAP: What are your projects?A book with 365 pictures, it is a poetry about the world we live in and the full-length film that I mentioned before.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?When I stumble upon a photograph I didn't mean to do.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?Deal with creative managers who don't have a clear concept of their idea. It happens quite often.AAP:If you were someone else who would it be?I don't know. You can be creative in any activity that humans do.AAP: Your favorite photo book?I have a huge library because I actually love photo books as an object as a whole; regardless of its content.
Robert Mapplethorpe
United States
1946 | † 1989
Robert Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in Floral Park, Queens. Of his childhood he said, "I come from suburban America. It was a very safe environment and it was a good place to come from in that it was a good place to leave." In 1963, Mapplethorpe enrolled at Pratt Institute in nearby Brooklyn, where he studied drawing, painting, and sculpture. Influenced by artists such as Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp, he also experimented with various materials in mixed-media collages, including images cut from books and magazines. He acquired a Polaroid camera in 1970 and began producing his own photographs to incorporate into the collages, saying he felt "it was more honest." That same year he and Patti Smith, whom he had met three years earlier, moved into the Chelsea Hotel. Mapplethorpe quickly found satisfaction taking Polaroid photographs in their own right and indeed few Polaroids actually appear in his mixed-media works. In 1973, the Light Gallery in New York City mounted his first solo gallery exhibition, Polaroids. Two years later he acquired a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began shooting his circle of friends and acquaintances—artists, musicians, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the S & M underground. He also worked on commercial projects, creating album cover art for Patti Smith and Television and a series of portraits and party pictures for Interview Magazine. In the late 70s, Mapplethorpe grew increasingly interested in documenting the New York S & M scene. The resulting photographs are shocking for their content and remarkable for their technical and formal mastery. Mapplethorpe told ARTnews in late 1988, "I don't like that particular word 'shocking.' I'm looking for the unexpected. I'm looking for things I've never seen before … I was in a position to take those pictures. I felt an obligation to do them." Meanwhile his career continued to flourish. In 1977, he participated in Documenta 6 in Kassel, West Germany and in 1978, the Robert Miller Gallery in New York City became his exclusive dealer. Mapplethorpe met Lisa Lyon, the first World Women's Bodybuilding Champion, in 1980. Over the next several years they collaborated on a series of portraits and figure studies, a film, and the book, Lady, Lisa Lyon. Throughout the 80s, Mapplethorpe produced a bevy of images that simultaneously challenge and adhere to classical aesthetic standards: stylized compositions of male and female nudes, delicate flower still lifes, and studio portraits of artists and celebrities, to name a few of his preferred genres. He introduced and refined different techniques and formats, including color 20" x 24" Polaroids, photogravures, platinum prints on paper and linen, Cibachrome and dye transfer color prints. In 1986, he designed sets for Lucinda Childs' dance performance, Portraits in Reflection, created a photogravure series for Arthur Rimbaud's A Season in Hell, and was commissioned by curator Richard Marshall to take portraits of New York artists for the series and book, 50 New York Artists. That same year, in 1986, he was diagnosed with AIDS. Despite his illness, he accelerated his creative efforts, broadened the scope of his photographic inquiry, and accepted increasingly challenging commissions. The Whitney Museum of American Art mounted his first major American museum retrospective in 1988, one year before his death in 1989. His vast, provocative, and powerful body of work has established him as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. Today Mapplethorpe is represented by galleries in North and South America and Europe and his work can be found in the collections of major museums around the world. Beyond the art historical and social significance of his work, his legacy lives on through the work of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. He established the Foundation in 1988 to promote photography, support museums that exhibit photographic art, and to fund medical research in the fight against AIDS and HIV-related infection.
Manjari Sharma
Manjari Sharma is a photographer born and raised in Mumbai, India and based in Brooklyn, New York. Rooted in the study of relationships and personal mythology, since it’s inception Manjari’s work has been recognized as walking the line of fine art and traditional portraiture. Manjari‘s work has been showcased in several group and solo exhibitions both in the US and internationally and she's been invited to speak at the School of Visual arts and the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. Manjari was chosen as an honorable mention for the Santa Fe Prize in 2012, her work selected by Review Santa Fe and featured by the Critical mass top 50. Manjari has been featured in various magazines print and online. Her works have appeared with Forbes India Magazine, Vogue India, Geo Magazine, America Online. She has been commisioned to work with advertising agencies such as JWT and Contract, India and has had features and interviews with New York Times, lens blog, Wired Raw File Nikon Asia, NPR, Time, PDN, Huffington Post, CNBC, Mumbai, The Times of India group and Leica, China. Before moving to the U.S. in 2001 Manjari worked for the national news daily of her country, The Times of India. Manjari has also worked as a staff photojournalist with the leading south asian photography magazine, Better Photography. She holds a bachelors degree in Visual Communication from S.N.D.T University, Mumbai and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Still Photography from Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio.
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For more than 25 years, French photographer Patrick Cariou has traveled to places around the globe, documenting people living on the fringes of society. Whether photographing surfers, gypsies, Rastafarians or the rude boys of Kingston, Cariou celebrates those who meet the struggles of life with honor, dignity and joy. Bringing together works from his groundbreaking monographs including Surfers, Yes Rasta, Trenchtown Love and Gypsies, Patrick Cariou: Works 1985–2005 (published by Damiani) takes us on a scenic journey around the world, offering an intimate and captivating look at cultures that distance themselves from the blessings and curses of modernity.
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Niko J. Kallianiotis' Athênai in Search of Home (published by Damiani) presents photos taken in and around Athens, the city in which he grew up. The images reflect the artist's eagerness to assimilate back into a home that feels at once foreign and familiar. Throughout the years the city and the surrounding territories have experienced their share of socio-economic struggles and topographic transformations that have altered its identity. The city of Athens in Kallianiotis' photographs is elliptically delineated as a vibrant environment that binds together luxury and social inequality. The photographer depicts a city in which the temporal and the spatial elements often clash with each other while conducting his research for a home that has changed over the years as much as he did.
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My new book STAR STRUCK focuses on the people and places of Hollywood Boulevard. Soon after I moved to Los Angeles in the '70s, I started shooting there. I was working at Capital Records, just a block and a half away, as a one of four art directors. At lunchtime, we would go out to eat at the Brown Derby, Musso, and Franks, or some other local restaurant, and I got to observe all the activity that was occurring on Hollywood Boulevard. It was amazing and it was fun, even though the location was ''on the turn''.
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A new release, Seventy-thirty (published by Damiani) depicts humanity's various faces and expressions, from metropolitans to migrants, unseen homeless to celebrities such as Robert De Niro, Muhammad Ali, Rene Magritte, Janis Joplin, and Andy Warhol. Steve Schapiro photographs early New York skateboarders while Theophilus Donoghue documents current Colombian breakdancers. Alternately profound and playful, father and son's photographs capture a vast range of human emotions and experiences. For this project, Schapiro selected images from the 60s civil rights movement and, with Donoghue, provided photos from today's Black Lives Matter protests and environmental rallies.
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Like 17th-century Dutch painters who made otherwise ordinary interior scenes appear charged with meaning, Pennsylvania-based photographer Jessica Todd Harper looks for the value in everyday moments. Her third monograph Here (Published by Damiani) makes use of what is right in front of the artist, Harper shows how our unexamined or even seemingly dull surroundings can sometimes be illuminating
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In Boyhood (published by Damiani) Roger Ballen's photographs and stories leads us across the continents of Europe, Asia and North America in search of boyhood: boyhood as it is lived in the Himalayas of Nepal, the islands of Indonesia, the provinces of China, the streets of America. Each stunning black-and-white photograph-culled from 15,000 images shot during Ballen's four-year quest-depicts the magic of adolescence revealed in their games, their adventures, their dreams, their Mischief. More of an ode than a documentary work, Ballen's first book is as powerful and current today as it was 43 years ago-a stunning series of timeless images that transcend social and cultural particularities.
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A multi-dimensional artist with decades of experience, Kim Watson has written, filmed, and photographed subjects ranging from the iconic entertainers of our time to the ''invisible'' people of marginalized communities. A highly influential director in music videos' early days, Watson has directed Grammy winners, shot in uniquely remote locations, and written across genres that include advertising, feature films for Hollywood studios such as Universal (Honey), MTV Films, and Warner Brothers, and publishers such as Simon & Schuster. His passionate marriage of art and social justice has been a life-long endeavor, and, in 2020, after consulting on Engagement & Impact for ITVS/PBS, Kim returned to the streets to create TRESPASS, documenting the images and stories of LA's unhoused. TRESPASS exhibited at The BAG (Bestor Architecture Gallery) in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, September 17, 2022 – October 11, 2022.
Exclusive Interview with Julia Dean, Founder of the L.A. Project
Julia Dean, Founder of the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and its executive director for twenty-two years, began The L.A. Project in 2021. A native Nebraskan, Julia has long sought to create a special project where love for her adopted L.A., and her passion for documentary photography can be shared on a grander scale.
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