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Italo Zannier

(b Santa Margherita Ligure, nr Genoa, Oct 10, 1930).

Italian photographer. He lived for some years in Venice, where he was taught photography by Paolo Monti. He took particular interest in the work of several international masters, especially Brassai, Robert Doisneau and William Klein. He turned professional in 1964, specializing in architectural photography and environmental reportage, noted especially for the formal rigour of his work. He also undertook fashion and advertising photography. In ...


Deborah Nash

(b Paderborn, 1896; d Aug 8, 1972).

German photographer and film maker. From 1917 to 1920 she studied at the Weimer Hochschule für Bildenden Kunste under the German painter Walther Klemm (b 1883). After graduating, she set up her own studio, where she produced a number of abstract collages influenced by Dadaism. In 1920 she moved to Frankfurt, and her residence, the Schmelzmuhle, became the meeting-place for many artists, including Schwitters, who became a lifelong friend. In 1923 she developed her first Prism Pictures, and between 1927 and 1933 she travelled with her husband, Robert Michel (ii), and with Schwitters to the Netherlands, where she made contact with Mondrian. During this time she also worked with the Film League in Frankfurt, where many of her films and photographs were produced. She created photographs reflecting the discoveries and preoccupations of contemporary painters. Her early pictures were concerned with a structural interpretation of reality and concentrated on the abstract shapes and contrasts formed by railings and wooden beams. Increasingly she turned to banal subject-matter, to the minutiae of life, for example a woman shutting a door or descending a stairway. The series of photographs such as the ...



(b Rotterdam, July 13, 1873; d Goirle, May 4, 1959).

Dutch photographer. He first studied painting at the Akademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Rotterdam (1892–6). In 1901 he started to work as a self-taught photographer, taking pictures of farmers and gypsies in the province of North Brabant, a typical subject for a pictorial photographer at the time. From 1907 to 1917 he worked in Rotterdam as a photographer, taking pictures of the town and its inhabitants. Pictorially the photographs bear comparison with the work of the Dutch Impressionists, the Hague school and George Hendrik Breitner. Their picturesque quality is enhanced by the use of the gum bichromate and oil pigment processes (see Photography, §I).

Berssenbrugge’s portraits were unusual for their spontaneity, lack of artistic background and rejection of retouching. He insisted, however, on the use of certain printing techniques, in particular his own so-called ‘Fototechnick’. Among his best portraits are those of members of contemporary artistic circles, for example that of the violinist ...


Hripsimé Visser

(b Budapest, April 29, 1910; d Laren, Netherlands, Dec 12, 2003).

Dutch photographer of Hungarian birth. She trained in Budapest under photographer József Pécsi (1889–1956). From 1930 to 1932 she worked in Berlin, first on a voluntary basis and later as a freelance photographer; while there she explored the use of human interest in photography and concentrated increasingly on photo-reportage. The political climate forced her to move in 1932 to Amsterdam, where she made her permanent home and mixed with avant-garde artists, film makers and photographers. As a result of publishing some of her work and participating in exhibitions, she became well known in Dutch photography circles. Her tireless promotion of photography led her to take part in organizing the first important internationally orientated photographic exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1937 and also to participate in many professional photographic organizations.

In the 1930s Besnyő concentrated on portraits, architecture and photo-reportage while working for different magazines. Because she was Jewish she chose to set aside her professional work during the war and became a photographer of groups persecuted by the Nazis. Her work of the 1950s, which included such portraits as ...


Camara Dia Holloway

[Smikle, David Edward]

(b Queens, NY, Nov 25, 1953).

African American photographer. Bey was born and raised in the neighborhood of Jamaica, in Queens, New York City. His interest in photography was cemented by viewing the now infamous exhibition, Harlem on My Mind, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1969. He studied at the School of Visual Arts during 1976–8, later earning his BFA from Empire State College, State University of New York in 1990, followed by his MFA from Yale University School of Art in 1993.

Bey launched his career in 1975 with the Harlem, USA series, following in the footsteps of street photographers who found the predominantly African American community a compelling subject. This series of black-and-white portraits became the subject of Bey’s first solo exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979.

During the 1980s, Bey continued making portraits expanding his terrain beyond Harlem. Sensitive to the politics of representing African Americans, he developed strategies to equalize the photographic encounter. Bey began using a large-format view camera on a tripod that he set up in the street. He established a dialogue with his sitters and gifted them with a print of their portrait. This was facilitated by his discovery of 4×5 Polaroid positive/negative Type 55 film that yielded virtually instant prints....


Susan Kart

(b Mbarara, 1963).

Ugandan photographer, film maker, and installation artist of Indian descent, active in the UK. Bhimji was born in Uganda to Indian parents. The family fled Uganda to England in 1972 due to President Idi Amin’s expulsion of all Asians and Asian-Ugandans from the country along with seizure of their property and businesses as part of his ‘economic war’ on Asia. Bhimji studied art at Goldsmiths College and the Slade School of Art in London and her photographic work primarily consists of close-up, sometimes abstracted glimpses of seemingly abandoned spaces, objects, and landscapes. Bhimji’s work focuses on India and Uganda, which are treated as almost anthropomorphic subjects that appear restless, unfinished, abandoned, or frozen in her photographs, films, and film stills. Bhimji was one of four shortlisted finalists for the Turner Prize in 2007, and her work has been exhibited alongside such artists as El Anatsui, António Olé, Yinka Shonibare, and ...


[née Sternefeld, Anna Sibilla [Änne]]

(b Goch, March 3, 1898; d Gera, Jan 14, 1933).

German photographer. After her marriage in 1920 she took her husband’s surname and at the same time changed her first name. She took her first photographs in 1921, without any training, but it was not until 1926 that she devoted herself seriously to the medium. Soon after this she produced a series of botanical photographs, such as Rubber Plant (c. 1927; Essen, Mus. Flkwang), taken in close-up to reveal the details of texture and structure. She also produced a number of images of crystals in a similar vein, such as Scheelite with Quartz (c. 1929; Essen, Mus. Flkwang), on the suggestion of the geologist Rudolf Hundt, who wanted them for his scientific work; these reflected her own interests as a collector of rocks and minerals. Her concern in such works with the detailed rendering of objects, closely linked to the Neue Sachlichkeit movement, showed the influence of photographs produced during the same period by Albert Renger-Patzsch....


Aurélie Verdier

(b Antwerp, March 19, 1946).

Belgian photographer and installation artist. He studied theatre and cinema in the late 1960s, creating a fruitful ground for his future installations and later dividing his work into four categories with the aim of blurring the frontiers of art and social reality. One such category, ‘Transformation–Installation’ was rooted in a spoof governmental pamphlet written by the artist in 1979 announcing the bankruptcy of art: he argued that art was unnecessary since it was inherently non-functional. From that point on, this ironic point of view was built into his recreations of everyday environments injected with incongruous elements, as in Driving School Z (1979; see 1998 exh. cat, p. 44), an installation in an Antwerp gallery that recreated the soulless premises referred to in the title. At once bleak and dramatic in its painstaking reconstruction, it contained furniture from a real driving school as a way of blurring the distinction between art and reality. Bijl’s polished installations have an unsettling atmosphere, as they lack any sense of human presence. Tackling issues of mass culture and its vehicles, he reconstructed some institutions in tableaux that mixed the artificiality of highly stylized objects with the tangible reality of everyday artefacts. By so doing, he questioned the identity and meaning of environments once they have been relocated to an institutionalized art context. In ...


John-Paul Stonard

(b Birmingham, September 25, 1970).

English photographer and video artist. Billingham graduated from the University of Sunderland in 1994 and in the same year took part in his first group exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery, London. The series of photographs for which he has become known shows the activities of his family at home. Taken over a period of years beginning in 1990 and initially intended as source material for paintings, these photographs are a stark, painful and often humorous documentation of the emotional, sometimes violent relationship of his parents and brother. They are noted for the extraordinary sympathy with which they explore their subjects and the domestic environment. Both the black-and-white and colour prints are mounted on aluminium, unframed, and untitled, suggesting that they are to be seen as a series rather than as isolated images. The images were published together for the first time in book form in 1996. In the following year he won the Citibank Photography Prize and was included in the exhibition ...


Sheryl Conkelton

(b Frankfurt am Main, March 23, 1899; d New York, March 10, 1998).

German photographer, active in France and the USA. Self-taught, Bing used the small-format Leica camera for most of her career, earning the nickname ‘Queen of the Leica’. She began her career producing photographic essays for German magazines in the 1920s. Inspired by the photographer Florence Henri, she went to Paris in 1930, where she produced fashion photography for Harper’s Bazaar, and garnered a reputation as a photojournalist, publishing in Le Monde Illustré and others. Bing incorporated photojournalist techniques into her artistic work and enlivened many of her images with motion (see, for example, her early 1930s photographs of dancers at the Moulin Rouge and the ballet Errante). Influenced by abstract painting, New Vision photography, and Surrealism, she built up geometric compositions from ordinary scenes, as in Three Men on Steps by the Seine (1931; London, V&A), and experimented with solarization, night photography, and cropping and enlarging. Her striking self-portrait from this period (...


Anne Kirker

(b Wyong, NSW, Dec 6, 1940).

Australian painter, photographer and teacher. Binns trained as a painter at the National Art School, Sydney (1958–62) and held her first solo exhibition at Watters Gallery, Sydney in 1967. It comprised vividly coloured and decorative paintings, with explicit representations of female genitalia. This symbolic imagery predated a collective push by Australian women artists to produce work that they believed was inherently female. She initiated many community arts projects from the beginning of the 1970s and was an influential force in re-positioning women’s work. This took into account collaborative projects and a respect for amateur techniques and traditions that thrive outside the art world of metropolitan centres. Her community projects included Mothers’ Memories, Others’ Memories for Blacktown Municipality (1979–81) and the art workshop program Full Flight, which Binns conducted for women throughout rural New South Wales (1981–3). Her Tower of Babel, an ongoing work open to contributors by invitation, was initiated in Sydney in ...


Hans Christian Adam

(b Breslau, ?1803/4; d Dresden, Feb 20, 1850).

German photographer. Son of the painter Raphael Biow (1771–1836), he was initially a painter, lithographer and writer. He opened the first photographic studio in Hamburg in 1841 and worked with Carl Ferdinand Stelzner from 1842 to 1843. A series of 46 daguerreotypes (3 extant) of the Great Fire of Hamburg in 1842 has been attributed to Biow (Kaufhold, 1989) and forms an early example of photographic reportage. Travelling to cities such as Berlin, Frankfurt and Dresden, he took portraits of the famous, including Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, Alexander von Humboldt (1847) and Friedrich Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia (all Hamburg, Mus. Kst. & Gew.). In 1848 he photographed the members of the Frankfurt National Assembly for his portfolio work Deutsche National-Gallerie, containing lithographic reproductions of his daguerreotypes. Kempe describes Biow as the ‘first photographer to collect people’. The essential quality of his photographs is their monumental unity. He used larger formats than other daguerreotypists; his plate size ranged from 216×162 mm to 270×320 mm....


C. Nagy

(b Budapest, Oct 26, 1941).

Hungarian painter, photographer and conceptual artist. He studied under Géza Fónyi at the Fine Art College in Budapest and then from 1966 to 1972 produced portraits, in which the influence of Expressionism was noticeable. From 1973 to 1979, however, he moved in a different direction, producing films, photographic sequences and textual conceptual works, all based on structuralist analysis of pictorial representation and of the institutions of the exhibition and the museum (e.g. the photographic sequences Inquiries on the Exterior Wall of the Museum of Fine Arts, 1975–6; and Reflections, 1976). From 1975 to 1980 he was involved in the Indigo project led by Miklós Erdély, but in 1980 he returned to oil painting, producing abstract works divided into two or three sections and often symmetrical in composition. At first these were vividly coloured, using bold brushstrokes and inspired by the Hungarian landscape, but later works were dominated by schematic representations of the human face, reduced after ...


Reinhold Misselbeck

(b Zurich, April 26, 1916; d Andes Mountains, Peru, May 16, 1954).

Swiss photographer. He studied photography from 1932 to 1936 with Hans Finsler at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich. From 1936 he worked as a freelance photographer and graphic artist, until obtaining a post with the Graphis publishing house in Zurich in 1938. Between 1942 and 1944 he published photographs of war damage in Europe in the magazine Du. His first collection 24 Photos von Werner Bischof was published shortly afterwards. He won success in 1948 with his coverage of the winter Olympic Games in St Moritz for Life magazine: he was awarded contracts by Picture Post, Weekly Illustrated and the Observer and became a member of the Magnum agency. Thereafter until his death in 1954 he travelled as a photojournalist through Europe, Asia and South America, reporting on famine, war and daily life in the Third World.

In the photographs of this period, he abandoned the single shot and began to use the thematically linked series. His images of famine in India, published later as ...


Erika Billeter

(b Surrey, Feb 16, 1931).

Brazilian photographer and film maker of English birth. Having moved to Brazil, she studied painting with André Lhote in Paris (1953–4) and with the American painter Morris Kantor (b 1896) at the Art Students’ League in New York (1954–6), before deciding to become a photographer; after 1962 she worked as a freelance photojournalist and film maker. In 1970 a Guggenheim Fellowship enabled her to go to Brazil, where she settled. She began to take an interest in the Indian inhabitants, and as a result spent years working with the Xingu in the Amazon region, creating an important visual record of the Amazon Indians at a time when their culture was increasingly threatened. In 1975 this work brought her the Critics’ Prize at the São Paulo Biennale. In 1979 her illustrated book Xingu Tribal Territory appeared. Among her films were A João Guimarães Rosa (...


Patricia Strathern

French family of photographers. Louis-Auguste Bisson (Bisson aîné, Bisson fils; b Paris, 1814; d Paris, 1876) studied under Louis Daguerre and began to photograph professionally in 1840. He made 200 daguerreotypes of human types and in 1849–51 produced portraits of 900 members of the Assemblée Nationale. He also photographed Classical monuments and sculpture. He was a founder-member of the Societé Française de Photographie and became official photographer to Pope Pius IX. His brother Auguste-Rosalie Bisson (Bisson jeune, Bisson fils; b Paris, 1826; d Paris, 1900), with whom Louis-Auguste worked (as Bisson frères) on many projects, frequently worked in Switzerland, where he made magnificent photographs during the first and second photographic ascents of Mont Blanc (e.g. The Ascent of Mont Blanc: The Passage des Echelles, 1862; see Berger-Levrault, pl. 24). He travelled in Egypt in 1869, producing 450 photographs in nine months. He photographed the siege of Paris in ...


Patricia Strathern

(b Lille, Aug 2, 1802; d Lille, April 28, 1872).

French photographer. A chemist by training, he learnt about William Henry Fox Talbot’s negative/positive calotype process in 1846 and devoted himself to perfecting the technique. An early example of his work is the picture of a Young Woman Knitting in a Drawing Room (before 1847; see Berger-Levrault cat., no. 25a). He did research into ways of improving darkroom techniques and processes, and he was the first to propose developing the positive print and printing on albumen paper, in 1851 (see Photography, §I). That same year, with his associate Hippolyte Fockedey, he founded the Imprimerie Photographique in Lille, the first large-scale photographic printers. At a time when photographic albums and books illustrated with photographs were very popular in Europe, his business was a great success. The first work to be produced was a series of 36 photographic albums, with three issues a month. He published albums of his own work as well as that of famous contemporary photographers such as ...


Reinhold Misselbeck

(b Schielo, June 13, 1865; d Berlin, Dec 9, 1932).

German photographer. He studied as a sculptor and modeller in the ironworks and foundry at Mägdesprung from 1882 to 1884 and then at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin (1884–90). Between 1890 and 1896 he travelled to Italy, Greece and North Africa with Professor M. Meurer (1839–1916), who had a theory that natural forms were inherently reproduced in art. With funds from the Prussian government, Blossfeldt made a series of plant photographs for use in education. In 1898 he was given a teaching post at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin, where he set up an archive for plant photographs. In the 1920s his photographs became very popular, and a collection, Urformen der Kunst, was published. They were seen as forerunners of Neue Sachlichkeit. It was not only the clearcut quality of the reproductions that won him esteem, but also the way in which the plant was revealed as the basis for a formal language of construction that could also be applied to objects and architecture. More of his photographs were published in ...


Erika Billeter

(b Berlin, Jan 26, 1897; d Rome, July 4, 1969).

American photographer of German birth. In 1918, in exile in the Netherlands, Blumenfeld met George Grosz, Howard Mehring and Paul Citroen. Working already as a photographer, painter and writer, he set up a photographic business in Paris in 1936 after the bankruptcy of his leather-goods shop in the preceding year. In 1941 he emigrated to the USA, and within two years he was one of the best-paid freelance photographers, working for Vogue, Life and Harper’s Bazaar. In 1955 he began the text of his autobiography, Blumenfeld: Meine 100 Besten Fotos (1979), on which he worked for the rest of his life. Blumenfeld’s personal photography showed the influence of Dada. He experimented unflaggingly with the technical possibilities of photography: solarization, multiple exposures, distortions. The dominant themes throughout his work were women and death. His international reputation was based not only on his experimental photography but also on his Fashion photography...


Andreas Franzke

revised by Jean Robertson

(b Paris, Sept 6, 1944).

French sculptor, photographer, painter, film maker and installation artist. Self-taught (Boltanski stopped attending school at the age of 12), he began painting in 1958 but first came to public attention in the late 1960s with short avant-garde films and with the publication of notebooks in which he came to terms with his childhood. Boltanski grew up in Paris in the aftermath of World War II. During the Nazi occupation of Paris, his Jewish father hid in a secret room, only emerging after the liberation of Paris, which coincided with Christian’s birth. The combination in Boltanski’s works of real and fictional evidence of his and other people’s existence has remained central to his art throughout his career, as has his interest in mortality and in the operations of memory and forms of remembrance. In the 1970s he experimented inventively with the production of objects made of clay and from unusual materials such as sugar and gauze dressings. These works, some of them entitled ...