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