Ilse Bing, known as “The Queen of Leica” was an avant-garde photographer and pioneer of monochrome images, born in 1899 in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. Her family was Jewish, upper middle class and artistic. She was educated in music and art from the beginning, but went to college for mathematics and physics. Above, fourteen year old Ilse takes what would be the first of many self portraits. She got into photography more seriously when she did her doctorate on Neo-Classical German architect, Friedrich Gilly, and needed to take some pictures to illustrate her points.
In 1929 (after some years of commercial success as a photo journalist for a magazine) she gave up her doctorate to dedicate herself to photography exclusively, which came as a huge surprise to her family. For a woman to stake her identity in photography then was a bold move. She moved to Paris in 1930 and her first exhibition was in the windows of the Moulin Rouge, of the dancers there. She used many of the same developing techniques as Man Ray. She died at the age of 98 in 1998. This collection of images includes self portraits by Ilse, from teenager to Nonagenarian.
(via Dieselpunks, where there’s more of Ilse’s life story)