Ilse Bing

Ilse Bing’s experiments with the new Leica camera and darkroom techniques like polarization and cropping helped break down the boundaries between artistic photography, photojournalism, and commercial work. Bing studied mathematics and physics at the University of Frankfurt and art history in Vienna before leaving school in 1929 to become a photo essayist for the Frankfurter Illustrierte, seeing photography as a way to combine her passions for science and art. She moved to Paris in 1930, immersing herself in the avant-garde movement and working for fashion designers and magazines like Harper’s Bazaar. Her images of the ballet Errante, using only ambient light, so impressed the Leitz Corportation that they sent her new wide angle and telephoto lenses for experimentation, and her art photography was displayed in leading galleries. In 1937, Beaumont Newhall included her in his groundbreaking photography exhibition at MOMA. After she was imprisoned by the Vichy government in 1940, she immigrated to New York, where she continued to experiment with color photography and electronic flash. In 1959, she stopped photographing, but continued to make art by creating collages, often using her old photographs, and discovered a new passion, writing poetry in German, French, and English.


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Ilse Bing, Self-Portrait, 1931.

Date of Birth


Date of Death
Photographer, Artist, Poet

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ilse Bing." (Viewed on January 18, 2020) <>.


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