Although an economic failure, during the career of photography pioneer Nicola Perscheid, he has earned several important prizes and reverence from the art world, bringing what was then a newer, painterly side to photography.
His photography focused on portraiture, and they are often in soft focus. He developed the Perscheid lens with a wide depth of field and was meant for large format cameras.
Take a look at some of Perscheid's works through this vintage gallery.
Portrait of a Gentleman
Perscheid was a favored portraitist. Opening his studio in Görlitz, he was hired by high society to take their bust shots. He was also hired as a court photographer at the court of Albert, King of Saxony.
Women in Soft Focus
Apart from high officials, he was also favorite among famous personalities during the time. The Berlin society liked his work. These soft-focus shots of women boast Perscheid's genius in inventing his personal lens.
Portraiture of Youth
Perscheid was also commissioned to take portraits of children. Perscheid has a rather expressionist approach in portraiture, going after facial expressions that are unique and emotional – a style that is tricky to acquire due to the limitations of photographic technology then.
Perscheid was a wandering photographer and earned money by traveling. He went to Trier, Saarbrücken, Colmar, Nice, Budapest, and Vienna and worked there. In addition to being a photographer, he also trained young photographers and held lectures in Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. Some of his prominent students were Madam d'Ora,Toragorō Ariga, Arthur Benda, Peter-Paul Atzwanger, Curt Götlin, Uno Falkengren, and Henry B. Goodwin.
The photographer suffered from a shortage of money at old age and died impoverished in Berlin. Despite his personal life's circumstances, his work is considered one of the most important in early European photography history.
Images used are from the public domain archive of the MKG Collection.