Ilse Bing

Ilse Bing, a photographer from Germany in the 1930’s, began when she bought a camera to help with her University thesis. She soon realised her passion was with photography, and left uni to focus on her photography. Bing began her career in photography with photojournalism for which she was being commissioned, she was also asked to record projects for modernist Mark Stam- this was where Bing was introduced to avant-garde artists such as Hannah Hoch and Ella Bergmann-Michel. In the 1930’s Bing made an important move to Paris. Bing continued to work for German newspapers but also French illustrated newspapers and then French fashion magazines such as Vogue. Alongside commissioned work, Bing took photographs that were for her own interest- increasing her own portfolio which later were used to exhibit in Parisian galleries. Bing’s work was displayed along with artists such as Man Ray and Cartier Bresson. Ilse Bing moved to New York in 1940’s where she continued her portraits and exhibiting work. In the late 1950’s Bing started to stop her photography and focus on other ways to produce art, however in the 1970’s her photographic work was reintroduced to galleries and museums.

Ilse Bings most famous photograph is Her Self-Portrait with Leica (1931) ;

an emblem of a time when many women were embracing modernity and independence, along with the new opportunities that technology afforded for artistic expression.

Bing cleverly places the mirrors in a position to view both the side and front of her face whilst taking the photograph. This was the image that influenced me; I immediately appreciated the composition. The first thing I look at when I see this photograph is the reflection of the artist, which I find interesting because whilst I’m drawn to that I know there is the same face staring right at me. In terms of my own work, this piece interests me because of the different view points of the same person in one shot. I think the mirror represents something. In my work, I enjoy the concept of perception and I feel like the mirror is an important aspect of this. A mirror is how we see ourselves, a photograph is a way for other people to see you. Also it is interesting because the artist isn’t looking into the mirror. The artist isn’t using the mirror how you would expect (looking into it to see the reflection), she’s using it for the audience only. We get to see more of her.

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