Ida Kar

(1908—1974) photographer

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Russian-born photographer of Armenian parentage, influential in establishing post-war British recognition of photography as an art form. She lived in Alexandria in the 1920s; then Paris (1928–33), where she mixed with the avantgarde; then again Egypt, where she ran the Idabel studio in Cairo with her husband Edmond Belali and participated in two Surrealist exhibitions. In 1945, now married to the English art critic Victor Musgrave, she arrived in London. Living in Soho, she created an extensive portrait gallery of British bohemians, as well as French artists and intellectuals. In the late 1950s she contributed photo stories about life in London to the Tatler and the Observer, and portraits of visiting cultural celebrities. Kar travelled widely, and in 1964 was invited to Cuba to photograph celebrations for the revolution. Hers was the first solo photography show at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, in 1960, which brought critical but not financial success. She arranged another exhibition at the House of Friendship, Moscow, in 1962. She died lonely and impoverished.

From The Oxford Companion to the Photograph in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Photography and Photographs.

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