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Nicola Perscheid
Nicola Perscheid, self-portrait from 1910
Nicola Perscheid
Nicola Perscheid

Nicola Perscheid

Country: Germany
Birth: 1864 | Death: 1930

Nicola Perscheid (3 December 1864 - 12 May 1930) was a German photographer. He is primarily known for his artistic portrait photography. He developed the "Perscheid lens", a soft focus lens for large format portrait photography.

Perscheid was born as Nikolaus Perscheid in Moselweiβ [de] near Koblenz, Germany, where he also went to school. At the age of 15, he began an apprenticeship as a photographer. Subsequently, Perscheid earned his living as an itinerant photographer; he worked, amongst other places, in Saarbrücken, Trier, and Colmar, but also in Nice, Vienna, or Budapest. In Klagenfurt in Austria he finally found a permanent position and on 1 March 1887, he became a member of the Photographic Society of Vienna (Wiener Photographische Gesellschaft). In 1889, he moved to Dresden, where he initially worked in the studio of Wilhelm Höffert (1832-1901), a well-known studio in Germany at that time, before opening his own studio in Görlitz on 6 June 1891. The next year he was appointed court photographer at the court of Albert, King of Saxony. In 1894, Perscheid moved to Leipzig.

Perscheid had his first publication of an image of his in a renowned photography magazine in 1897, and subsequently participated in many exhibitions and also had contacts with artist Max Klinger. As an established and well-known photographer, he moved in 1905 to Berlin. There, he experimented with early techniques for colour photography, without much success, and when his assistant Arthur Benda [de] left him in 1907, Perscheid gave up these experiments altogether. His portraits, however, won him several important prizes, but apparently were not an economic success: he sold his studio on 24 June 1912.

In October 1913, he held a course at the Swedish society of professional photographers, the Svenska Fotografernas Förbund, which must have been a success as it was praised even ten years later. In 1923, he followed a call by the Danish college for photography in Kopenhagen.

Percheid had several students who would later become renowned photographers themselves. Arthur Benda studied with him from 1899 to 1902, and joined him again in 1906 as his assistant for experimenting with colour photography. Benda left Perscheid in 1907; together with Dora Kallmus he went to Vienna and worked in her studio Atelier d'Ora, which he eventually took over and that continued to exist under the name d'Ora-Benda until 1965. Kallmus herself also had studied from January to May 1907 at Perscheid's. Henry B. Goodwin, who later emigrated to Sweden and in 1913 organized Perscheid's course there, studied with Perscheid in 1903. In 1924 the Swedish photographer Curt Götlin (1900-1993) studied at Perscheid's studio. Perscheid also influenced the Japanese photographer Toragorō Ariga, who studied in Berlin from 1908 to 1914 and also followed Perscheid's courses. He returned in 1915 to Japan.

The Perscheid lens was developed around 1920. It is a soft-focus lens with a wide depth of field, produced by Emil Busch AG after the specifications of Perscheid. The lens is designed especially for large format portrait photography. Ariga introduced the Perscheid lens in Japan, where it became very popular amongst Japanese portrait photographers of the 1920s.

Even after the sale of his studio, Perscheid continued to work as a photographer and even rented other studio rooms in 1917. Besides artistic photography, he also always did "profane" studio portraits, for instance for the Postkartenvertrieb Willi Sanke in Berlin that between 1910 and 1918 published a series of about 600 to 700 numbered aviation postcards, including a large number of portraits of flying aces, a number of which were done by Perscheid. Towards the end of the 1920s, Perscheid had severe financial problems. In autumn 1929 he had to sub-rent his apartment to be able to pay his own rent. Shortly afterwards, he suffered a stroke, and was hospitalized in spring of 1930. While he was at the hospital, his belongings, including his cameras and photographic plates, but also all his furniture were auctioned off to pay his debts. Two weeks after the auction, on 12 May 1930, Perscheid died at the Charité hospital in Berlin.

Source: Wikipedia

 

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E. J. Bellocq
United States
1873 | † 1949
Ernest Joseph Bellocq was an American professional photographer who worked in New Orleans during the early 20th century. Bellocq is remembered for his haunting photographs of the prostitutes of Storyville, New Orleans' legalized red-light district. These have inspired novels, poems and films. Bellocq was born into a wealthy family of French créole origins in the French Quarter of New Orleans. He became known locally as an amateur photographer before setting himself up as a professional, making his living mostly by taking photographic records of landmarks and of ships and machinery for local companies. However, he also took personal photographs of the hidden side of local life, notably the opium dens in Chinatown and the prostitutes of Storyville. These were only known to a small number of his acquaintances. He had been something of a dandy in his early days, while he lived alone in the latter part of his life and acquired a reputation for eccentricity and unfriendliness. According to acquaintances from that period, he showed little interest in anything other than photography. Bellocq died in 1949, and was buried in Saint Louis Cemetery No. 3 in New Orleans. After his death, most of his negatives and prints were destroyed. However, the Storyville negatives were later found. After many years, they were purchased by a young photographer, Lee Friedlander. In 1970, a show of Friedlander's posthumous prints on gold tone printing out paper from Bellocq's 8" x 10" glass negatives were mounted by curator John Szarkowski at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. A selection of the photographs were also published concurrently in the book, Storyville Portraits. These photographs were immediately acclaimed for their unique poignancy and beauty. A more extensive collection of Friedlander's prints, entitled Bellocq: Photographs from Storyville, was published with an introduction by Susan Sontag in 1996. In recent times, a significant number of prints from Bellocq's own studio have come to light. They are typical professional photographs of the day, such as portraits, copy work for the Louisiana State Museum, and local views, yet few if any Storyville portraits printed by Bellocq's hand exist. A number of early posthumous prints from Bellocq's negatives by photographer Dan Leyrer have also surfaced. The Storyville photographs All the photographs are portraits of women. Some are nude, some dressed, others posed as if acting a mysterious narrative. Many of the negatives were badly damaged, in part deliberately, which encouraged speculation. Many of the faces had been scraped out; whether this was done by Bellocq, his Jesuit priest brother who inherited them after E. J.'s death or someone else is unknown. Bellocq is the most likely candidate, since the damage was done while the emulsion was still wet. In a few photographs the women wore masks. Some prints made by Bellocq have since surfaced. These are far more conventional than the full-negative prints made by Friedlander. The Storyville photographs not only serve as a record of the prostitutes, but also the interiors of the businesses that housed them.
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