Dora Maar, Double portrait with hat, 1930s
The woman who was seen by Picasso, seen by herself.
Maar was one of the most interesting photographers of surrealism, but sadly, she is remembered by the general public as the mistress of Picasso, the woman who registered the creation of Guernica, and went mad after the split with the great genius.
It should be recalled that, in addition of it, she was one of the very few artists who achieved an authentic surrealist style in photography, using many techniques (photomontage, solarization, multiple exposure…) and many genres.
One of my favourite works of hers is this self-portrait, a mix of techniques and resources (fragmentation, manipulation, multiplication) which expresses the many faces of this fascinating woman.
Herbert Bayer, Humanly impossible (Self-Portrait), 1932
Unidentified Photographer, Photomontage, c. 1875
(Private Collection, published in La fotografia a Espanya al segle XIX, p. 22).
Erwin Blumenfeld, Photographic Collage, ca. 1950
Erwin Blumenfeld, Putting Dada into Fashion Photography
Erwin Blumenfeld is definitely one of my favorite photographers. Born in 1897, he took up photography as a hobby at age 10. In his youth, Blumenfeld participated in the Dadaist circles of Berlin and Amsterdam (in fact, he was brother in law of Paul Citroen), practicing the genre of photomontage. His collages were never intended for public viewing, but for the private exchange (he gave them as personal gifts or enclosed in love letters to his fiance), as can be seen in the wonderful book Erwin Blumenfeld: I Was Nothing But a Berliner, Dada Montages 1916 - 1933, published by Hatje Cantz. In the same way, Blumenfeld never thought become a professional photographer. Only when his leather shop (on whose premises he had found, by chance, a darkroom, which served him to begin to experiment more professionally) went bankrupt, “when there really was no other way out” (in his own words), he became a photographer.
After the rise of Nazism, Blumenfeld, like many other German artists, began a long journey that took him from Paris (where he began working as a professional photographer for fashion magazines) to the United States. There, Blumenfeld became the highest-paid fashion photographer, and one of who transformed the genre into a form of art. His images were in the service of the product (clothing, hats, lipstick, etc.), but at the same time, were defined by their innovative and experimental nature. By using resources such as fragmentation, concealment or distortion, he not only sought to create powerful images and highlight the qualities of the objects publicized. In his photographs, lies a questioning of the consumer society, a reflection on identity, and on the power of images, which were beginning to multiply en masse. A reflection, ultimately, on society in which we live, on our way to look.