Photography

Model, Lisette (1901 - 1983)

Born in Austria and settled in the United States, in 1938, Lisette Model decides, from her early works, to reject all things politically correct, believing that a photograph’s subject had to ‘hit you in the stomach.’ She likes to place herself right in front of people, starring and catching ferociously their faces, from the rich wanderers of the French Riviera to high society New Yorkers attending an opera. Often misunderstood, many believe she mocks upper classes - the French communist publication, Regards, published her images of the French Riviera in 1935, as a polemical piece against the bourgeoisie - but the Austrian photographer treats the wealthy and the poor in the same way, with no compassion nor admiration while assuming their distorted and unflattering features. More than to create social chronicles, she wants to detail apparences and attitudes, with a strong taste for liveliness and voluminous forms just like when she gently depicts a fleshy Coney Island bather. The world’s a stage for Lisette Model’s eye that disturbs her contemporaries such as Paul Strand who exclaims: ‘You can’t photograph America this way’. Never mind, the photographer will leave a resolute imprint on one of her students, Diane Arbus, who inherited a similar crude observation of life.
 

Lisette Model, Albert-Alberta, Hermaphrodite, 42nd Street Flea Circus, c. 1940
Lisette Model, Albert-Alberta, Hermaphrodite, 42nd Street Flea Circus, c. 1940
Lisette Model, Coney Island Bather, Standing, New York, 1942
Lisette Model, Coney Island Bather, Standing, New York, 1942
Lisette Model, Corney Island Bather, New York, 1942
Lisette Model, Corney Island Bather, New York, 1942
Lisette Model, Couple Dancing, 1940
Lisette Model, Couple Dancing, 1940
Lisette Model, Fashion Show, Hotel Pierre, New York, c. 1940-1946
Lisette Model, Fashion Show, Hotel Pierre, New York, c. 1940-1946
Lisette Model, Fifth Avenue 2, 1940
Lisette Model, Fifth Avenue 2, 1940
Lisette Model, Fifth Avenue, 1940
Lisette Model, Fifth Avenue, 1940
Lisette Model, French Riviera, 1937
Lisette Model, French Riviera, 1937
Lisette Model, French Riviera, 1937
Lisette Model, French Riviera, 1937
Lisette Model, Little Man, Lower East Side, New York, 1940
Lisette Model, Little Man, Lower East Side, New York, 1940
Lisette Model, Louis Armstrong, c. 1954-1956
Lisette Model, Louis Armstrong, c. 1954-1956
Lisette Model, Self-portrait, 55 Manhattan, c. 1940
Lisette Model, Self-portrait, 55 Manhattan, c. 1940
Lisette Model, Singer at Sammy's, New York, 1940
Lisette Model, Singer at Sammy's, New York, 1940
Lisette Model, The Gypsy Queen, Lower East Side, New York, 1940
Lisette Model, The Gypsy Queen, Lower East Side, New York, 1940
Lisette Model, Valeska Gert, 1940
Lisette Model, Valeska Gert, 1940
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