Amazing Portraits of Writers and Artists by Gisèle Freund

Gisèle Freund (1908  – 2000) was a German-born French photographer and photojournalist, famous for her documentary photography and portraits of writers and artists. Her best-known book is Photographie et société (1974) 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 (with its 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.

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Anouk Aimée by Gisèle Freund, 1962 via

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Colette by Gisèle Freund, 1954 via

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Frida Kahlo by Gisèle Freund via

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Simone de Beauvoir by Gisèle Freund (The day of the Prix Goncourt, next to a window writing), Paris, 1954 via

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Zsa Zsa Gabor, 1953 via

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Evita Perón, doing her hair (Reportage for Life magazine, 1950) © Gisèle Freund via

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Gisèle Freund, Self-Portrait via

Marlene Dietrich in New York by Cecil Beaton (1935)

Cecil Beaton came to New York in 1928. Through personal connections he gained access to some of Hollywood’s biggest stars–including Marlene Dietrich (source).

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Portrait of Marlene Dietrich in New York by Cecil Beaton, 1935 via

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Portrait of Marlene Dietrich in New York by Cecil Beaton, 1935 via

Female Portrait Photographs by Carl Van Vechten

Carl Van Vechten (1880 – 1964) was an American writer and artistic photographer who was a patron of the Harlem Renaissance and the literary executor of Gertrude Stein.

In the 1930s, Van Vechten began taking portrait photographs.

Among the many individuals he photographed were Josephine Baker, Tallulah Bankhead, Theda Bara, Harry Belafonte, Leonard Bernstein,  Karen Blixen, Jane Bowles, Marlon Brando, Truman Capote, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, Ella Fitzgerald, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Martha Graham, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Horst P. Horst, Mahalia Jackson, Frida Kahlo, Eartha Kitt, Henri Matisse, W. Somerset Maugham, Elsa Maxwell, Henry Miller, Joan Miró, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Diego Rivera, Gertrude Stein, James Stewart, Alfred Stieglitz, Gloria Vanderbilt, Gore Vidal, Evelyn Waugh, Orson Welles and Anna May Wong.

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Frida wearing a Tchuantepee gourd by Carl Van Vechten, 1932 via

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Tallulah Bankhead by Carl Van Vechten, 1934 via

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 Anna May Wong by Carl Van Vechten, 1935 via

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Josephine Baker by Carl Van Vechten via

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Gertrude Stein by Carl Van Vechten, 1935 via

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Lillian Gish by Carl Van Vechten, 1937 via

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Theda Bara by Carl Van Vechten, 1939 via

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Karen Blixen by Carl Van Vechten, 1959 via

Frida Kahlo Photographed by Toni Frissell (1937)

Toni Frissell (1907 – 1988) was an American photographer, known for her fashion photography, World War II photographs, and portraits of famous Americans and Europeans, children, and women from all walks of life.

Her initial job, as a fashion photographer for Vogue in 1931, was due to Condé Montrose Nast personally. She later took photographs for Harper’s Bazaar. Her fashion photos, even of evening gowns and such, were often notable for their outdoor settings, emphasizing active women.

In the 1950s, she took informal portraits of the famous and powerful in the United States and Europe.

In later work she concentrated on photographing women from all walks of life, often as a commentary on the human condition.

The pictures of Frida Kahlo where taken during a Vogue Magazine photo shoot in 1937 entitled “Señoras of Mexico”, while Frissell was a staff photographer.

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Frida Kahlo seated next to an agave plant in 1937. For Vogue by Toni Frissell via

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Frida Kahlo standing next to an agave plant in 1937. For Vogue by Toni Frissell via

Louise Brooks by Eugene Robert Richee (1920s)

Eugene Robert Richee (b. 1896) began his career in the silent movie era. He got his job at Paramount in the late teens through his friend Clarence Sinclair Bull.

He started shooting stars while Donald Biddle Keyes was taking portraits in the gallery.  When Keyes left Paramount, Richee took over, and for two decades he photographed the studio’s stars including Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino, Claudette Colbert, Fredrick March, the Marx Brothers and Carole Lombard.  Lombard so admired his work with Dietrich that she started posing in some of the same ways to get that ‘glamour mysterious’ look.

From 1925 to 1935 Richee took many photographs of Louise Brooks.  Perhaps Richee’s most famous work is a 1928 portrait of Louise Brooks wearing a long string of pearls. Few photos capture better the zeitgeist of the Roaring ’20s. Simplicity is the hallmark of this photograph, along with masterful composition. Brooks stands, face in profile and wearing a long-sleeved black dress, against a black background, her face hands and pearls along illuminated. Her bob, with its razor-sharp line across the white skin of her jaw, was widely copied and became one of the last century’s most potent fashion statements.

Brook’s career had intermittent highs and lows, but she was one of Hollywood’s great portrait subjects and was never better served than by Richee (source).

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Louise Brooks by Eugene Robert Richee, 1928 via

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Louise Brooks by Eugene Robert Richee, 1928 via

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Louise Brooks portrait by Eugene Robert Richee via

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Portrait of Louise Brooks by Eugene Robert Richee, 1920s via

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Portrait of Louise Brooks for The Canary Murder Case directed by Malcolm St. Clair and Frank Tuttle. Photo by Eugene Robert Richee, 1929 via

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Portrait of Louise Brooks for The Canary Murder Case directed by Malcolm St. Clair and Frank Tuttle. Photo by Eugene Robert Richee, 1929 via

Amazing Vintage Portraits by Madame d’Ora (1910s-1920s)

Dora Philippine Kallmus (1881 – October 28, 1963) was an Austrian-Jewish fashion and portrait photographer who went by the name Madame D’ora. Dora, born in Vienna in 1881, came from a respected family of Jewish lawyers. In 1905 she was the first woman to be admitted to theory courses at the Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt. That same year she became a member of the Vienna Photographic Society. She trained at Nicola Perscheid’s studio in Berlin, where she became friends with his assistant Arthur Benda. In 1907 she opened a photography studio with Benda in Vienna called the Benda-D’Ora Studio. What followed was  a distinguished career as a salon photographer. In 1925, she moved her atelier to Paris, and during the 30s and 40s rose to international prominence through society and high fashion photography. Both her er studios in Vienna and Paris became fashionable meeting places for the cultural and intellectual elite. In Vienna she had  become extremely popular among the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy.

Her subjects included intellectuals, dancers, actors, painters, and writers, fx.  Josephine Baker, Tamara de Lempicka, Maurice Chevalier, Colette, Niddy Impekoven. These vibrant portraits of twentieth-century artists and intellectuals remain important testaments to European cultural life at the turn of the century and beyond.

According to Jewish Women Encyclopedia D’Ora was one of the first photographers to focus on the emerging areas of modern, expressive dance and fashion, particularly after 1920, when fashion photographs started to replace drawings in magazines. While her photographic technique was not radical, her avant-garde subject matter was a risky choice. D’Ora’s photographs captured her clients’ individuality with new, natural positions in contrast to stiff, old-fashioned poses. D’Ora’s achievements also paved the way for other European women’s careers in photography, an area in which many Jewish women in particular found success.

When the Germans invaded France, Madame D’ora fled to a convent in the country side.  Dora returned to France in 1946 and re-opened the studio.

In 1959 she was involved in a serious traffic accident that left her an invalid. She died in Frohnleiten, Steiermark, Austria, in 1963.

Marie Conte by Madame d’Ora

Dora Kallmus (Madame d’Ora) & Arthur Benda - Fashion study, Vienna c.1920.

Fashion study by Madame d’Ora & Arthur Benda. Vienna, ca 1920

Portrait of an unknown lady by Madame d’Ora, 1925

Annemarie Heinrich – German/Argentine photographer

Annemarie Heinrich (1912 – 2005) was a German-born, naturalized Argentine photographer. Heinrich is considered one of Argentina’s most important photographers. She specialized in portraits and nudity.

Heinrich was born in Darmstadt and moved to Larroque, Entre Ríos with her family in 1926, fleeing from the First World War. In 1930 she opened her first studio in Buenos Aires.

Two years later she moved to a larger studio, and began photographing actors from the Teatro Colón. Her photos were also the cover of magazines such as El HogarSintoníaAlta SociedadRadiolandia and Antena for forty years. She is known for having photographed various celebrities of Argentine cinema, such as Tita Merello, Carmen Miranda, Zully Moreno and Mirtha Legrand; as well as other cultural personalities like Jorge Luis Borges, Pablo Neruda and Eva Perón.

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By Annemarie Heinrich

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By Annemarie Heinrich

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By Annemarie Heinrich

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By Annemarie Heinrich

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By Annemarie Heinrich

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By Annemarie Heinrich

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By Annemarie Heinrich

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By Annemarie Heinrich