A German Jew in Paris Who Survives a Death Camp
He became the most celebrated and highest paid photographer of the Post War era.
There are few photograph collections more extraordinary and fascinating than Erwin Blumenfeld‘s. He plays with your eyes and your perception like an illusionist.
Blumenfeld, a German -born Jew from Berlin recounts in his autobiography laced with anger, irony, sex and puns, called “Eye to I” of being squeezed at birth through the Bearing Straits. He had experienced virulent anti-Semitism in Germany and after a stint as an ambulance driver during World War One he moved into the art world of montage and photography to become the most talented celebrated photographer probably of all time.
Don’t you just love this photo: in 1936 in Paris he exhibited this portrait of Hitler which so incensed the German Ambassador he demanded it be torn down. Happily the Germans got to see it less than a decade later when the US Forces dropped millions of copies of it over German cities.
In 1938 he shot this iconic photo of a model on the Eiffel Tower
Living in Paris during the Nazi occupation, Blumenfeld was interned for his anti-Hitler photographic propoganda and spent two years in French concentration camps during World War II before being rescued and escaping to the USA.
A photographer for Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Elizabeth Arden and more, he expressly wanted to photograph the same woman whom Rodin had used as his model for the 1880’s sculpture The Kiss. Her name was Carmen. So 50 years later in 1937 he did photograph her in her 70’s below