Photography

Lerski, Helmar (1871 - 1956)

Born in Strasbourg, then a German town, Helmar Lerski moved to the United States in 1888 where he became an actor. In 1910, he began practicing photography, revealing unusual and dramatic portraits that played with light, reflecting mirrors and disturbing close-ups. Surely influenced by his cinematographic work on such features as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, the German photographer applied its expressionist aesthetic to his images. His anonymous individuals appeared terribly human and surreal at the same time, their faces meticulously observed but via a bronze prism that delivered a god-like feel. During the 1930s, he worked on an extensive project, depicting Arabs and Jews in Palestine. With this series first entitled Jewish Faces, Helmar Lerski wanted to fight against his country’s typified aryan ideal and produced a manifesto for tolerance: ‘The idea that, in a few years, one of my friends in the United States will look at my contribution to the Jewish war effort in Israel fills me with a satisfying feeling.’
 

Tags / Helmar Lerski - German Photographer - Portrait - 1930s - Face - Cinema
Helmar Lerski, American Engineer, 1913
Helmar Lerski, American Engineer, 1913
Helmar Lerski, Farm Laborer’s Hands, 1944
Helmar Lerski, Farm Laborer’s Hands, 1944
Helmar Lerski, The Housekeeper, 1929
Helmar Lerski, The Housekeeper, 1929
Helmar Lerski, Yemenite Boy, 1933
Helmar Lerski, Yemenite Boy, 1933
Helmar Lerski, A Boy, 1930
Helmar Lerski, A Boy, 1930
Helmar Lerski, Portrait of George Wittenborn, Bookseller, Berlin, 1927-31
Helmar Lerski, Portrait of George Wittenborn, Bookseller, Berlin, 1927-31
Helmar Lerski, Portrait of George Wittenborn, Bookseller, Berlin, 1927-31
Helmar Lerski, Portrait of George Wittenborn, Bookseller, Berlin, 1927-31
Helmar Lerski, Metamorphosis, 1935
Helmar Lerski, Metamorphosis, 1935
Helmar Lerski, Portrait of Wittenborn, Bookseller, Berlin, 1930
Helmar Lerski, Portrait of Wittenborn, Bookseller, Berlin, 1930
Helmar Lerski, Cleaning Lady, 1928-31
Helmar Lerski, Cleaning Lady, 1928-31
Helmar Lerski, Self-portrait, Tel-Aviv, 1936
Helmar Lerski, Self-portrait, Tel-Aviv, 1936
Helmar Lerski, Untitled Portrait from “Metamorphosis through Light
Helmar Lerski, Untitled Portrait from “Metamorphosis through Light", 1936
Helmar Lerski, Untitled, 1936
Helmar Lerski, Untitled, 1936
Helmar Lerski, Young Yemenite Worker, 1930
Helmar Lerski, Young Yemenite Worker, 1930
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