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Gisèle Freund

(1908—2000)


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(1908–2000), German-born French photojournalist. Born into a cultured German-Jewish family near Berlin, she was introduced to photography by her father, an art collector. She later studied sociology with Norbert Elias and Theodor Adorno, researching the impact of photography on portraiture, an unusual topic given that the history of photography was not yet a recognized academic discipline. In 1933 Freund actively opposed the rise of Nazism and fled Germany just ahead of the police. In Paris she continued her studies and supported herself with reportage for Vu, Life and other magazines. The publication of her photographs and her thesis, as Photography and Society, attracted the attention of Parisian intellectuals. More perhaps than her photojournalism, the portraits she made of André Malraux, Walter Benjamin, Colette, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and others, nearly all in colour, are among her best known work. The outbreak of war forced Freund to flee to Argentina, but she eventually returned to make France her home. Freund joined Magnum at Robert Capa's invitation, but the association ended in 1954 after she was blacklisted in America. In the mid-1980s she gave up photography to give herself more time to read.

From The Oxford Companion to the Photograph in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Photography and Photographs.


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