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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It's a way of life." ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Monday, January 30, 2012

Photographer Profile ~ Louise Dahl-Wolfe

Louise Dahl-Wolfe was one of the most celebrated photographers of the 30's, 40's, and 50's. Her work had enormous impact on great photographers such as Horst, Avedon, and Penn. Working in the heyday of Harper's Bazaar, she pioneered the use of natural lighting in fashion photography and shooting on location and outdoors.

Born in 1895 in San Francisco, Dahl-Wolfe first started taking pictures in 1923. She did her first fashion work for Harper's Bazaar in 1936 and had a long career as a fashion photographer for that publication. Louise Dahl-Wolfe died in 1989. Her work has been exhibited at the Grey Gallery at New York University, the Women's Museum in Washington and currently at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. [staley wise gallery]

"I believe that the camera is a medium of light, that one actually paints with light. In using the spotlights with reflecting lights, I could control the quality of the forms revealed to build a composition. Photography, to my mind, is not a fine art. It is splendid for recording a period of time, but it has definite limitations, and the photographer certainly hasn’t the freedom of the painter. One can work with taste and emotion and create an exciting arrangement of significant form, a meaningful photograph, but a painter has the advantage of putting something in the picture that isn’t there or taking something out that is there. I think this makes painting a more creative medium."
~ Louise Dahl-Wolf, 1984

 Mae West  by Louise Dahl-Wolfe

*click on images for a larger view*

Lauren Bacall in Helena Rubenstein’s bathroom. Photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe,1942.

The following is a quote from the catalog of the 1987 Louise Dahl-Wolfe retrospective at the National Museum of Women’s Art in Washington: “…more than any other fashion photographer of the 1940’s, she replaced the glamorous goddess in the gilded cage with an approachable, active woman with a sense of self…the woman coping so capably with wartime exigencies, participating in sports or traveling to foreign locations always elegantly attired and comfortably well-off…she was both forthright and feminine, like Dahl-Wolfe herself.”

Robert Doisneau – working on fashion shoot with photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe and model Suzy Parker, 1953

 Cecil Beaton Photographing Marilyn Munroe by Louise Dahl-Wolfe

Director/Actor Orson Welles

Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Princeton, New Jersey, 1988 Photo Abe Frajndlich

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