Lotte Jacobi's Historical Portraiture Page 2

sorcadmin's picture

Aesthetic Differences
Beginning in August, 1932, Jacobi spent six months traveling throughout the Soviet Union and Central Asia. This excursion allowed her to do some travel photography and to document the evolving Communist Republic. After Margaret Bourke-White, Jacobi was the only female photographer ever to receive permission to photograph the Soviet Union. Some of her images are credited to pseudonyms.

Jacobi returned to Berlin to find that the political climate was quickly changing. The transfer of power to the Nazi party and her Jewish heritage made life dangerous and work difficult to find, so she fled to America in 1935. Many of her images were destroyed in World War II after she left Berlin. Jacobi moved to New York City, where she opened a photography studio. To begin with, she had a difficult time. She did some commercial photography, but her style wasn't always compatible with U.S. magazines.

Berenice Abbott, an American photographer, befriended Jacobi and helped her out. There was a small artists' community in New York, and they all banded together. "Photography wasn't really accepted as a fine-art form until later on," comments Sundstrom.

Robert Frost.

Photographer Alfred Stieglitz, photographed by Jacobi in 1938. A long-time admirer, she had studied Stieglitz' work while attending classes at a university in Munich.

From the late 1930s through the '50s, Jacobi photographed such influential people as J.D. Salinger, Eleanor Roosevelt, Erich Reiss (whom she eventually married), Alfred Stieglitz, and Marc Chagall. She shot the portrait of Chagall and his daughter Ida at a time when she experienced artistic differences after moving to New York. After seeing her images, Chagall told Jacobi that he realized that photography could indeed be a fine art form, as opposed to simple snapshots. For Jacobi, this was a rewarding experience and renewed her confidence in how she viewed herself and her work.

As always, notes Sundstrom, "Jacobi allowed the person to be who he or she was." In her 1938 "Portrait of Albert Einstein," the revered physicist is pictured in his home and oblivious to the camera, wearing a leather jacket. She managed to capture the human--not the genius--on film. Although Life magazine had commissioned this assignment, they considered her photos too "casual" for publication. "She was a very headstrong person and didn't want to change her style to suit a magazine," Sundstrom points out.

Albert Einstein: The man behind the genius, 1938.

Exploring the Medium
She demonstrated that she could do photography with style and explore the artistic aspects of the medium. Such was the case with her abstract expressionism that incorporated photo materials (but no camera), known as "Photogenics." Jacobi began creating these images in the late '40s at the suggestion of a friend and fellow artist, Leo Katz (in addition to a new way to express art, photogenics took her mind off her husband dying). In the darkroom, she used a flashlight diffused by clear plastic or another sheer material to "paint" light directly onto photographic paper. Each image was unique, such as "Sunset," which is included on these pages.

Jacobi's "Portrait of Leo Katz" was taken in 1938. In this image, she utilized dramatic lighting and the cigarette as a prop, which she rarely did, according to Sundstrom. "She didn't like to include anything in her photos that detracted from the subject."

J.D. Salinger, 1951.

From the City to the Countryside
In 1955, Jacobi left New York for the countryside in Deering, New Hampshire. Her mother, husband, and a close friend had died within the span of a few years in the early '50s. It was in New Hampshire that she began capturing closeups and abstractions outdoors--"the unseen world of nature." Sundstrom comments, "Jacobi never pigeon-holed herself. She did what she wanted and didn't care what the critical press said. She basically made her money at portrait photography, but she could do so much more."

In New England, she soon became involved with the local art community. She became friends with writers Helen and Scott Nearing, May Sarton, and the poet Robert Frost, all of whom she photographed. Initially, she was given about 15 minutes to take Frost's picture, says Sundstrom, "but then they began talking about gardening, and spent the afternoon drinking ginger beer." As usual, she brought out the best in her subjects, even in Frost, who was considered "kind of a curmudgeon."

"Sunset," one of Jacobi's cameraless images that were called "Photogenics."

An Artist Remembered
Jacobi remained active throughout the late '60s and '70s. Sundstrom says he's interviewed people who have had wonderful stories about her. She always worked hard to promote photography as fine art, and "campaigned to have photography represented in the annual New Hampshire Art Association exhibition." She was also a delegate at the 1976 Democratic convention for Jimmy Carter. She has also won many awards for her artistic achievements. In 1980, the New Hampshire Governor's office (through the State Council on the Arts) established The Lotte Jacobi Living Treasure Award, which honors an artist who has made a significant contribution to his/her art form and to the arts community, according to Sundstrom.

She died in 1990, but collections of Jacobi's work continue to be shown regularly in Germany and the U.S. As Sundstrom says, "Her collection of images are an important contribution to photography and the history of art."

Article Contents
Share | |
Comments
barvelou's picture
Wow, the pictures look really

Wow, the pictures look really great. It captured real emotion and real people. - Markus Lattner

yurosie's picture
I traveled with my tripod too

I traveled with my tripod too and it was stresfull but in the end everything was ok. I love taking photos of all the amazing buildings and impressive cathedrals I see during my trips.

Cari Uang Lewat Ekiosku.com, Cipto Junaedy.BOLA368.com Agen Judi Bola Terpercaya Promo 10% all Games Sportbook

mar1us91's picture
Are you currently

I hope the charity would be a success. I'll be glad to help in any way that I can. Great job, yet again, on this post by the way. jocuri cu bile

mar1us91's picture
Great

intra si joaca jocuri cu mario daca iti place sa gatesti ai la dispozitie mai multe jocuri de gatit

eprocent's picture
Great Post

Very interesting your article. I've enjoyed reading it and I tell my friends about this site. Good luck in the future. At our maid service Chicago company, we believe that your home should be the place that rises up to greet you at the end of the day and sends you out into the world feeling rejuvenated each morning. We will work with you to create a personal cleaning solution.

mar1us91's picture
Creativity

fa cele mai noi chestionare drpciv intra si joaca pe cel mai nou site de jocuri cu tractoare

raluca32's picture
Great post!

I am also passionate about this topic. I have spent enough time on looking this kind of topic. It is very useful. promovare site

dare's picture
A really

A really nice piece of art indeed!

buy facebook fans

opaler's picture
My Life is full of people and

My Life is full of people and therefore of portraits that i choose to remember or not and a few years ago i realized that i can keep close to me some of the faces that i see, sometimes just for once and i bought a camera. Since then i make professional portraits and i think that this is an amazing job to have in this century.

mar1us91's picture
These dates

esti pasionat de atv-uri acum ai posibilitatea de a te juca online jocuri cu atv daca iti plac motoarele atunci joaca jocuri cu motociclete daca iubesti papusile barbie atunci trebuie sa joci jocuri cu barbie si nu in ultimul rand joaca cele mai bune jocuri cu grafica , jocuri 3d cel mai nou site romanesc de jocuri masini

eprocent's picture
I Like reading about: "Portrait Tips"

Very interesting and also informative. I wanted to thank you for this article. I’ve you bookmarked your internet site to look at out the new stuff you post. Thanks for sharing this article. cazare hajduszoboszlo - cleaning services Chicago I have also shared this website with my other friends. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great job.

stildeviata's picture
An interesting article

Im no expert, but I believe you just made an excellent point.
You certainly fully understand what youre speaking about, and I can truly get behind that.
cleaning services Chicago

raluca32's picture
Great work

We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Great work. promovare site

Ethan's picture
Re:

Fantastic piece of writing we have to spread the word about this website.You need to have more attention.
limo dallas town

deborabilal's picture
It's really good written and

It's really good written and I fully agree with You on main issue, btw. I must say that I really enjoyed reading all of Your posts. Kitchen remodeling San Diego