Sabine Weiss: legendary French photographer dies aged 97

Pioneering photographer Sabine Weiss, who was the last surviving member of France's celebrated humanist school, has died aged 97 at her home in Paris.

Although she had stopped taking pictures, Weiss was actively involved in her archive until her death. Born in Switzerland, she learned her art in Geneva, moving to Paris after World War Two. She became renowned particularly for her images on the streets of Paris, and for 70 years remained at the heart of French photography.

In 1946 she became an assistant to German portrait and fashion photographer Willy Maywald. "When I came to Paris, I was able to work at Maywald, whom a friend had recommended to me. I worked there in conditions unimaginable today, but with him I understood the importance of natural light. Natural light as a source of emotion," she wrote.

By 1950, Weiss was represented by Agence Rapho, the leading French press agency managing the work of Robert Doisneau. He offered her a place in the agency after a meeting in the office of the director of Vogue.

In 2017, she donated her entire archive, which contained 200,000 negatives, 7,000 contact sheets, around 2,700 vintage prints and 2,000 late prints, 3,500 prints and 2,000 slides to the Musée de l'Élysée, Lausanne.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor and Brussels correspondent of EU Today.

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