Trailblazing women in the art world have always held a particular fascination for me. Gisèle Freund was a world renowned photographer and photojournalist making waves as an artist and woman in a time when that was more difficult. Born in Berlin in 1908, Freund was one of Europe’s most prominent photographers and a pillar among French feminist intellectuals after fleeing Nazi Germany and settling in Paris in the 1930’s. Her thesis on photography in France in the 19th century was met with skepticism, because photography was not considered a serious study then (or for many years after that, especially color photography). One of Freund’s major contributions is her use of the Leica Camera for documentary footage and the use of Kodachrome and 35 mm Agfacolor, which allowed her to develop a “uniquely candid portraiture style.”
Freund’s portraits are masterpieces, she is considered to be among the best portrait photographers of all time. However her journalism photos are not to be overlooked. She regularly contributed to Time and Life magazines, going on over 80 photography missions over the course of her career. The photos ranged from poverty in England to Evita Peron’s infamously lavish lifestyle. (This coverage didn’t sit so well with the Argentinian Prez).
Her newest photo book to be released is Frida Kahlo: The Gisele Freund Photographs. Freund visited Kahlo and Diego Rivera at their home in Coyoacan, Mexico City while Khalo was suffering from gangrene and nearing the end of her life. What was supposed to be a 2 week visit, ended up being a 2 year adventure where Freund immersed herself in the couple’s life taking hundreds of beautiful portraits of Kahlo in her home and studio.
Freund died in 2000 and is buried in Paris.
Here is a little glimpse of all the magic:
Magically captivating, aren’t they? Learn more about Gisele HERE.