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Au Vieux Paris

Photograph
1934 (photographed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Ilse Bing (1899-1998) was one of several leading women photographers in the inter-war period. Born into a Jewish family in Frankfurt, she initially pursued an academic career before moving to Paris in 1930 to concentrate on photography.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, bars at night became a popular subject for artists in Paris. By positioning the viewer outside the bar and using the solarisation technique to transform shapes and tones, Bing used photography to treat the subject in a new way.

Solarisation happens when negatives are exposed to specific amounts of light in the darkroom during developing and printing, producing partly reversed images. Bing’s experiments developed from an interest in light; as she explained, at the time, ‘light was considered the medium that permits photography. But for me it became the main subject: the protagonist of my photography’. The bar lights become abstract spheres that reflect off shiny surfaces, drawing our attention away from the human forms placed between the geometric door frames.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Solarised gelatin-silver print
Brief Description
'Au Vieux Paris', photograph from solarised negative taken in 1934 by Ilse Bing (1899-1998).
Physical Description
Black and white solarised photograph of the front of a restaurant 'Au View Paris/Restaurant'. Through the windows the viewer can make out the bright lights and customers sitting at tables.
Dimensions
  • Sheet width: 24.6cm
  • Sheet height: 19.1cm
  • Image height: 18.2cm
  • Image width: 24.2cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
  • '[IlSE BING 1934 ]/[2/15]' (reverse in pencil, written by Bing)
  • 'ILSE BING 1934' (Written by Bing in black ink, bottom right of image.)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Ilse Bing Wolff
Production
printed later
Subject depicted
Place Depicted
Summary
Ilse Bing (1899-1998) was one of several leading women photographers in the inter-war period. Born into a Jewish family in Frankfurt, she initially pursued an academic career before moving to Paris in 1930 to concentrate on photography.



Towards the end of the nineteenth century, bars at night became a popular subject for artists in Paris. By positioning the viewer outside the bar and using the solarisation technique to transform shapes and tones, Bing used photography to treat the subject in a new way.



Solarisation happens when negatives are exposed to specific amounts of light in the darkroom during developing and printing, producing partly reversed images. Bing’s experiments developed from an interest in light; as she explained, at the time, ‘light was considered the medium that permits photography. But for me it became the main subject: the protagonist of my photography’. The bar lights become abstract spheres that reflect off shiny surfaces, drawing our attention away from the human forms placed between the geometric door frames.
Bibliographic Reference
Ilse Bing: Paris 1931-1952 by Francoise Reynauld (Musée Carnavalet, Paris, 1987).
Collection
Accession Number
E.3051-2004

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record createdOctober 13, 2005
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