Photograph of Ilse Bing, self-portrait

Photograph of Ilse Bing, self-portrait

Photograph, self-portrait of Ilse Bing
Ilse Bing (1899-1998)
1934
Paris
Gelatin silver print
Museum no. E.3036-2004
Bequeathed by Ilse Bing Wolff

During the First World War and through to the 1930s many women entered the work force for the first time, and wanted to reflect their new independence in the way they dressed. They wore practical clothing that was suitable for work, and many daring modern women took to wearing trousers. Many continued to sport short bobbed hair as they had in the 1920s.

This portrait is of Ilse Bing (1899-1998), one of several leading women photographers in the inter-war period. Born into a Jewish family in Frankfurt, she initially pursued an academic career before moving to Paris in 1930 to concentrate on photography. Bing’s severe self-presentation of 1934 shows an independent, unadorned, determined professional.