Sabine Weiss was a legend of street photography. She died recently at 97 – the last survivor of a brilliant school of photography. I find the beauty and intimacy of her work inspiring. Sabine Weiss, photographer, born 23 June 1924; died 28 December 2021. She continued to do her remarkable work til very late in life.
She said: [I take] photographs to hold on to the ephemeral, capture chance, keep an image of something that will disappear: gestures, attitudes, objects that are reminders of our brief lives … The camera picks them up and freezes them at the very moment that they disappear. I love this constant dialogue between myself, my camera, and my subject, which is what differentiates me from certain other photographers, who don’t seek this dialogue and prefer to distance themselves from their subject.
Weiss’s personal work — taken primarily in her neighborhood of Porte de Saint-Cloud in Paris — gained critical acclaim through exhibitions at high-profile venues, like the Museum of Modern Art and Limelight Gallery in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Walker Art Institute in Minneapolis. The Photographer’s Gallery describes Weiss’s personal photography as “sympathetic and optimistic depictions of simple moments of beauty.”
Weiss also built long-lasting contracts with numerous international publications, like The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, Newsweek, Esquire, Paris Match, and others that published her documentary work taken across Europe and the United States during the post-war era.
In the late 1970s, her work received a renewed interest which encouraged her to return to black and white photography. In her sixties, Weiss started a new body of personal work based on her travels in France, Egypt, India, Reunion Island, Bulgaria, and Burma. At the same time, she also received numerous tributes that “contributed to her reputation as an independent and dynamic photographer, with a great humanist sensibility and an eye for the detail of everyday life.”
(Quotes are from an obituary written by Anete Lusina at Petapixel.)
I had a very hard time choosing the photos for this post. There is so much of her work that I admire. Her work is immensely varied and impressive. Go see the wonderful examples on her official website.
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