Monday, June 4, 2012

Lisette Model

Peanut Vendor, 1930s

Lower East Side, ca. 1942

Newspaper, 1940s

Female Impersonator, ca. 1945

New York, ca. 1945

Diana Vreeland, ca. 1945

Dorothea Lange, 1946

Back in 1990 the National Gallery of Canada published a fine catalog by Ann Thomas of the retrospective mounted in Ottawa for Lisette Model (1901-1983). After more than two decades it remains the best single source on Model's life and career. I came across the book by chance at the library where I work. For the past week I have been absorbed in these images.

The National Gallery of Canada houses Model's archive (negatives, notebooks, correspondence, prints) and maintains an entertaining (and authoritative) website about her work.

"Model is best known as a remarkable portrait photographer who emigrated to this country at the beginning of World War II AND as the teacher and friend of Diane Arbus. Although her work is included in EVERY history of photography and was included in every important exhibit during her lifetime, it is as a teacher that Lisette Model was revered. Charismatic and reeking of Vienna and Paris culture, direct and secretive at the same time, Model fueled her legend all the while she disputed its existence." from Elsa Dorfman's review of the catalog