“I didn’t choose photography; it chose me. I didn’t know it at the time. An artist doesn’t think first then do it, he is driven.” – Ilse Bing
Ilse Bing learned photography by herself for the sole purpose of her research when she was still studying at the Universities of Frankfurt and Vienna. It was the mid-1920s and the revolutionary 35mm hand-held Leica cameras were fresh on the market — Bing purchased one and she became the only professional Parisian photographer to use this kind of camera. Later on, she was named as the Queen of the Leica.
Bing began to receive photojournalism recognitions for her contributions in the visual magazine Frankfurter Illustrierte. She also collaborated with a renowned architect, Mart Stam, who was then the chief architect of a big construction project in the late 1920s, Das Neue Frankfurt. Not long after this, Bing decided to fully concentrate on photography.
As a photographer, she was mainly attracted to subjects that are purely incidental and ordinary. She preferred taking photographs of things which “made a picture” to her. She was fond of utilizing daring geometries and perspectives, modernist compositions with great emphasis on abstractions, natural lighting, and unconventional cropping.
Which of these Ilse Bing photographs strike your liking the most? What other “Leica masters” would you like to be written about? Read more about the Best of the Best Series.