Lisette Model

USA / 1901 - 1983 / wikipedia
Lisette Model (Nov. 10, 1901 – March 30, 1983); Austrian-born American photographer.

Born Elise Felicie Amelie Stern in Vienna, Austria-Hungary.... Two years after her birth, her parents changed their family name to Seybert....

At 19, she began studying music with composer Arnold Schönberg..."If ever in my life I had one teacher and one great influence, it was Schönberg," she said.

...Model made a series of portraits which are among her most widely reproduced and exhibited images. These close-cropped, often clandestine portraits of the local privileged class already bore what would become her signature style: close-up, unsentimental and unretouched expositions of vanity, insecurity and loneliness. Model's compositions and closeness to her subjects were achieved by enlarging and cropping her negative...

Lisette Model began her creative life as a student of music. Through avant-garde composer Arnold Schönberg, with whom she studied piano, she became exposed to the Expressionist painters of early twentieth-century Vienna. She never formally studied photography but took it up in the 1930s while living in Paris. An early piece of advice received from a colleague--"Never photograph anything you are not passionately interested in"--became her motto.

Model's images can be categorized as "street photography," a style which developed after the invention of the hand-held camera, which made quick, candid shots possible. Through her own complicated personal history, she found intensely empathetic connections with her disparate subjects.

Model eventually settled in New York, where she met with quick success as a commercial photographer for Harper's Bazaar magazine and as an artist with her work exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art. For 30 years she taught photography in New York, where she instructed and befriended Diane Arbus. (
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camera photography female artist self portrait