All about photo.com: photo contests, photography exhibitions, galleries, photographers, books, schools and venues.
Ilse Bing
Ilse Bing

Ilse Bing

Country: Germany
Birth: 1899 | Death: 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


 

Ilse Bing's Video

Selected Books

Inspiring Portfolios

Call for Entries
$10,000 Cash Prizes
All About Photo Awards 2023 - Enter Your Best Single Images
 
Stay up-to-date  with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events.

More Great Photographers To Discover

Jessica Todd Harper
United States
1975
Jessica spent much of her childhood wandering around museums with a sketchbook, copying paintings. This traditional artistic preparation took an unexpected course when she started making photographs as a teenager, but the familiar canvases of her childhood heroes -John Singer Sargent, Whistler, Vermeer- still have their influences today: she is interested in making intimate, psychological portraits, where the environment plays a large role. Jessica Todd Harper uses portraiture to explore the subtle tensions within daily family interactions and the complexity of human relationships. Her work is grounded in art historical tradition, but with a psychological undercurrent that marks its modernity. A silver medalist in the Prix de la Photographie in Paris (2014), she was an Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition prizewinner (2016) and selected that same year for the Taylor Wessing Portrait competition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Her work will be significantly represented in Kinship, opening at the Smithosonian's National Portrait Gallery in late 2022, and running until 2024. Harper has published two prize-winning books of photography, Interior Exposure (2008) and The Home Stage (2014) (both Damiani Editore). Damiani’s third book of her work, Here, is due out in late 2022. HERE Like 17th-century Dutch painters who made otherwise ordinary interior scenes appear charged with meaning, Pennsylvania-based photographer Jessica Todd Harper (born 1975) looks for the value in everyday moments. The characters in her imagery are the people around her—friends, herself, family—but it is not so much they who are important as the way in which they are organized and lit by Harper. A woman helping her child practice the piano is not a particularly sacred moment, but as in a Vermeer painting, the way the composition and lighting influence the content suggests that perhaps it is. This collection of photographs presented in Harper's third monograph makes use of what is right in front of the artist, what is here, a place that many of us came to contemplate especially during the pandemic. Beauty, goodness and truth can reveal themselves in daily life, as in the Dutch paintings of everyday domestic scenes that are somehow lit up with mysterious import. Harper shows how our unexamined or even seemingly dull surroundings can sometimes be illuminating. Exlusive Interview with Jessica Todd Harper about her Book Here
Julie Blackmon
United States
1966
Born in Springfield, Missouri, Julie Blackmon studied art education and photography at Missouri State University. She has received several national awards for her photographs, including commendation in the 2004 Santa Fe Center of Photography Project Competition, a merit award from the Society of Contemporary Photography, 2005 B& W Magazine Merit Award for Single Image Contest, 2006 1st Place for Domestic Vacations from the Santa Fe Center of Photograph Project Competition, 2006 Critical Mass Book Award Winner for Domestic Vacations, and recognized as American Photo’s Emerging Photographer of 2008. Her photographs are included in the permanent collections of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Toledo Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, among numerous others. About Domestic Vacations:The Dutch proverb “a Jan Steen household” originated in the 17th century and is used today to refer to a home in disarray, full of rowdy children and boisterous family gatherings. The paintings of Steen, along with those of other Dutch and Flemish genre painters, helped inspire this body of work. I am the oldest of nine children and now the mother of three. As Steen’s personal narratives of family life depicted nearly 400 yrs. ago, the conflation of art and life is an area I have explored in photographing the everyday life of my family and the lives of my sisters and their families at home. These images are both fictional and auto-biographical, and reflect not only our lives today and as children growing up in a large family, but also move beyond the documentary to explore the fantastic elements of our everyday lives, both imagined and real. The stress, the chaos, and the need to simultaneously escape and connect are issue that I investigate in this body of work. We live in a culture where we are both “child centered” and “self-obsessed.” The struggle between living in the moment versus escaping to another reality is intense since these two opposites strive to dominate. Caught in the swirl of soccer practices, play dates, work, and trying to find our way in our “make-over” culture, we must still create the space to find ourselves. The expectations of family life have never been more at odds with each other. These issues, as well as the relationship between the domestic landscape of the past and present, are issues I have explored in these photographs. I believe there are moments that can be found throughout any given day that bring sanctuary. It is in finding these moments amidst the stress of the everyday that my life as a mother parallels my work as an artist, and where the dynamics of family life throughout time seem remarkably unchanged. As an artist and as a mother, I believe life’s most poignant moments come from the ability to fuse fantasy and reality: to see the mythic amidst the chaos.
Thomas Jorion
France
1976
Thomas Jorion (b. 1976, lives in Paris) photographs urban ruins and condemned buildings, spaces that no longer serve the purposes for which they were built. His work explores the built environment in a state of entropy, inviting viewers to reflect on the relationship between the material and the temporal.My work is based on our perception of time, how it passes and especially its lack of linearity. Some places seem frozen as time passes by. While our society is developing and changing very rapidly, these places are submitted to a distorted passing of time. They seem to be lifeless or in a waking state, although in reality they have their own link with time. I travel the world with one idea in mind, to find and show timeless islands. I choose to enter closed and abandoned places formerly alive, and often places of leisure or prestige to capture and share them. My fascination for the esthetic of abandoned places is the extension of an older tradition. The Romantics enjoyed strolling amidst the ruins of long lost civilizations. Centuries earlier, painters such as François de Nomé (1592 – 1623), Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) and Hubert Robert (1733 – 1808) dedicated part of their work to these forgotten places. Somehow my photos are part of this process. The existence of timeless islands stems from a variety of contemporary phenomena. Though each of these islands has a particular origin depending on its location, all eventually evoke the disappearance of men. In Japan, the line between leisure and consumption is often blurry. Leisure activities that are deemed old-fashioned are disposed of – similar to those handkerchiefs, the “nuigishi,” given out for free on the streets by pretty young ladies. An example of this occurence (occurrence – deux R) is the three-storied, 108-lane bowling alley in a Tokyo suburb. Being out of use for some time, it soon is to be demolished. The expansion of new forms of leisure activities has also led to a booming hotel industry. Better and cheaper flight connections and the growing mobility of global citizens made the world a village, with every destination easy to reach. The province of Izu, which used to be a popular summer destination for the Japanese, is now competing with international destinations as in China or Korea. Hotel complexes or amusement parks now open for business or shut their gates according to short-lived trends in the tourism industry. In America the consequences of the economic crisis have been more disastrous than anyone could hardly have imagined. In the vast landscape of the United States, the possibility to build on new land is considered limitless. The habit of constructing new buildings instead of renovating old ones has proven rather catastrophic for the country. The dramatic consequences can be seen in cities such as Detroit MI, where the “white flag” phenomenon has made matters even worse. Other cities, such as Memphis, TN, or Bridgeport, CT have followed suit. Those cities’ entire cultural and social identities have decayed into ruin. The first places to have become useless for society were theaters, movie theaters, sport centers, schools and churches. Health care institutions, public housing, and judicial systems suffered, too… The failure of American Utopias, photographed by Joel Sternfeld in the late 70s, was already heralding deeper phenomena observed today. On the old continent, the reasons are multiple and the consequences are often the same. Struck by a major structural transformation from industrial to post-modern societies many countries had to turn away from their heavy industry. Gigantic textile factories in Northern Italy have completely disappeared, even sumptuous villas of industrialists were forsaken and left to decay. Twenty years after the reunification this development can also be seen in Germany, where factories became completely unsuitable for the global economy and whole regions became deserted due to migration. There is no denying that these abandoned places now cover all continents and in the name of the profit motive tends to amplify this phenomenon. As for my photographic practice, I wish to conserve the rawness of the places that I observe. This represents a challenge. The frame must be arranged in accordance with the layout of the space and the available light. For me, this reinforces the immaculate and timeless aspect of the place. My use of a large format camera allows me to make sharp and detailed images that contain a variety of focal points, textures, and depths. Capturing the richness of such pictures takes much time, which in turn reduces the number of photographs I can take. The choice of color film is important because it anchors the place within the present moment and allows for a faithful rendering of things seen. This eliminates the austere quality of certain spaces. For example, in the Piedmont theater, the blue, yellow, and brown are muted and soft colors, but they correspond well together to reveal a new beauty. Source: www.thomasjorion.com
Peter Beard
United States
1938 | † 2020
Peter Hill Beard is an American artist, photographer, diarist and writer who lives and works in New York City and Kenya. His photographs of Africa, African animals and the journals that often integrate his photographs have been widely shown and published since the 1960s. Born in 1938 as a New York aristocrat, he was heir to a railroad fortune on his mother’s side of the family and a tobacco inheritance on his father’s. He was raised in New York City, Alabama, and Islip, Long Island, Beard began keeping diaries as a young boy and making photographs, as an extension of the diaries, at the age of 12. A graduate of Pomfret School, he entered Yale University in 1957, with the intention of pursuing pre-med studies, only to switch his major to art history. His mentors at Yale included Josef Albers, Richard Lindner and Vincent Scully. Inspired by earlier trips to Africa in both 1955 and 1960, Beard traveled to Kenya upon graduation. Working at Tsavo National Park, he photographed and documented the demise of 35,000 elephants and other wildlife, later to become the subject of his first book, "The End of the Game." During this time, Beard acquired Hog Ranch, a property near the Ngong Hills adjacent to the coffee farm owned by Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), which would become his lifelong home-base in East Africa. Peter Beard's photographs of Africa, African animals and journals that often integrate his photographs have been widely shown and published since the 1970s. Each of his works is unique, a combination of his photography with elements derived from his daily diary-keeping, a practice he continues to this day. These volumes contain newspaper clippings, dried leaves, insects, old sepia-toned photos, transcribed telephone messages, marginalia in India ink, photographs of women, quotes, found objects, and the like; these become incorporated, with original drawings and collage by Beard. Certain of his works incorporate animal blood, sometimes Beard’s own blood (in sparing quantities), a painting medium the artist favors. Beard's first exhibition was at the Blum Helman Gallery, New York, in 1975. Landmark museum exhibitions have been held at the International Center of Photography, New York, in 1977, and the Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, in 1997. Gallery exhibitions followed in Berlin, London, Toronto, Madrid, Milan, Tokyo and Vienna. Beard’s work is included in private collections throughout the world. In 2017, Beard was sued by actor David Spade who purchased one of his works. Spade tried to resell a Peter Beard photograph that he had purchased from dealer Peter Tunney but the unsigned work could not be authenticated. Descended from distinguished American families on both sides, Beard is one of three sons born to Roseanne Hoar Beard and Anson McCook Beard, Jr. A great-grandfather, James Jerome Hill, was founder of the Great Northern Railway in the United States in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. Having made his fortune in the railroad business, James Jerome Hill was a great patron of the arts. All of his heirs were exposed to and owned great collections, presumably having a strong influence on Beard’s interests in the arts and beauty. Beard married his first wife (Minnie Cushing Beard Coleman) in 1962; their marriage lasted only briefly. His second wife was supermodel Cheryl Tiegs, from 1982 to 1986. In 1986, he married Nejma Khanum. The couple has a daughter, Zara, for whom his book, Zara’s Tales, was written. Beard has befriended and in some cases collaborated with many legendary artists including Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth, Francis Bacon, Karen Blixen, Truman Capote, Richard Lindner, and Salvador Dalí. He has also photographed many well-known people.Source: Wikipedia Peter Beard is a contemporary American photographer best known for his documentary images of Africa arranged in unique photo collages that combine painting, drawing, and text. Part documentarian, part activist, Beard’s work captures the plight of a continent succumbing to industrialization. “The wilderness is gone,” the artist has said, “and with it much more than we can appreciate or predict. We'll suffer for it.” Born on January 22, 1938 in New York, NY the artist and diarist was educated at Yale University, studying art history with the famed abstract painter Josef Albers. After moving to Africa in the 1960s, Beard began to catalog the demise of elephants and rhinoceroses in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park. In 1975, while living in Nairobi, Beard spotted a beautiful university student named Iman, the photographer later brought her to New York, launching her career as a super model. Over the course of his career he has collaborated with Andy Warhol, Richard Lindner, Francis Bacon, and others. Beard currently lives and works between New York and Montauk, NY, and Nairobi, Kenya.Source: Artnet
Advertisement
All About Photo Awards 2023
March 2023 Online Solo Exhibition
All About Photo Awards 2023

Latest Interviews

Exclusive Interview with Patrick Cariou
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.
Exclusive Interview with Niko J. Kallianiotis
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.
Exclusive Interview with Ave Pildas
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''.
Exclusive Interview with Elaine Mayes
In The Haight-Ashbury Portraits, 1967-1968 (published by Damiani) during the waning days of the Summer of Love, Elaine Mayes embarked on a set of portraits of youth culture in her neighborhood. Mayes was a young photographer living in San Francisco during the 1960s. She had photographed the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and, later that year the hippie movement had turned from euphoria to harder drugs, and the Haight had become less of a blissed-out haven for young people seeking a better way of life than a halfway house for runaway teens.
Exclusive Interview with Theophilus Donoghue
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.
Exlusive Interview with Jessica Todd Harper about her Book Here
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
Exclusive Interview with Roger Ballen about his Book Boyhood
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.
Exclusive Interview with Kim Watson
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.
Call for Entries
All About Photo Awards 2023
Win $10,000 Cash Prizes & International Press