Abstract

Ilse Bing was one of those Weimar photographers whose work was recognized or rediscovered later than that of many of her more famous female peers. Her photographic project sprang largely from her persistent subversion of the stylistic oppositions of New Vision photography and New Objectivity. Just as complex was the work she produced after moving to Paris, defined as it was by her cross-cutting of Weimar socialist and French Surrealist photographic mentalities. Comparable in her precise socio-political analysis to the Frankfurt School's critiques of emerging mass-cultural and political formations, Bing's work in the United States, where, barred from publishing in magazines, she was able to pay witness to photography's functioning as a new ideological- and cultural-industrial medium—acquired the melancholic features of a mordant critique of traditional photographic genres such as the portrait.

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