In this article, I pay tribute to the most poetic photographer of the Paris school: Izis Bidermanas. He belonged to the group of great social French photographers such as Doisneau, Ronis, Brassai, and Cartier-Bresson. With these great masters, he was invited to take part in the 1951 MOMA exhibition entitled “Five French Photographers.” Find out more about his dreamy world after the jump!
Izis Bidermanas was born in Lithuania in 1911 to a modest Jewish family. After gaining a little experience as an apprentice photographer, he left his homeland at age 16 in search of fortune and arrived in Paris with a few pennies in his pocket. Less famous than his well-known French colleagues, the shy and reserved Izis worked for a modest fee as a photojournalist for the magazine Paris Match.
He loved to walk, and every two hours he came home to his wife, asking if there had been phone calls from the magazine. His walks were marked by a sad melancholy, an eternal sorrow, because his family had been murdered by the Nazis in Lithuania.
Of all the humanist photographers, he was the one who moved further away from reality to enter into a world of dreams. His pictures, characterized by an intuitive nature, are filled by a strong poetic vision.
Among his best known works are those he did with poet Jacques Prevert: “Grand Bal de Printemps” and “Le cirque d’Izis”, which were dedicated to the world of entertainment, funfair, and circus. One of his more famous photos shows a man playing with soap bubbles.
To pay homage to this great master, I choose some photos showing the world of circus, street artists, carnival performances, funfair, street parades and Easter Fair of my city, Como.
In 1963, Izis was the only photographer who was allowed to photograph the painter Marc Chagall while painting the ceiling of the Paris Garnier Opera house. Izis died at his Paris home in May 1980 at the age of 79.
Salute to the Masters is a series dedicated to great photographers that I like. I posted other tributes for Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, Stephen Shore, Gabriele Basilico, Robert Adams, J.H. Lartigue, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank and Gianni Berengo Gardin. I especially love street photography and urban architectural photography.