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Florence Henri: Female Pioneer Photographer Reflecting Bauhaus

“With Florence Henri’s photos, photographic practice enters a new phase,” wrote László Moholy-Nagy in 1928. Trained at the Bauhaus, Henri used prisms and reflections to create her avant-garde work

Portrait Composition, 1937 by Florence Henri © Martini & Ronchetti, courtesy Archives Florence Henri
Portrait Composition, 1937 by Florence Henri © Martini & Ronchetti, courtesy Archives Florence Henri

Born in New York in 1893, Florence Henri left the city when she was two years old after the death of her mother. She was thrown into a peripatetic life, travelling between her mother’s relatives in Silesia (then part of Germany), a convent school in Paris, and family homes in London and the Isle of Wight. As an adult her travels continued: studying music in Rome, relocating to Berlin during World War One, acquiring Swiss citizenship through a hasty marriage, and moving to Paris in 1925, where she studied painting under Fernand Léger.

In 1927, when she was 34, Henri enrolled as a non-matriculating student at the Bauhaus in Dessau, where she studied photography with László Moholy-Nagy and struck up a close friendship with Lucia Moholy. Between 1928 and the late 1930s she created the photography that she is now best-known for, often using prisms and reflections to complicate her images and experimenting with techniques such as photomontage, multiple exposures and photograms.

Self-Portrait, 1938 by Florence Henri © Martini & Ronchetti, courtesy Archives Florence Henri
Self-Portrait, 1938 by Florence Henri © Martini & Ronchetti, courtesy Archives Florence Henri

“With Florence Henri’s photos, photographic practice enters a new phase, the scope of which would have been unimaginable before today,” wrote Moholy-Nagy in 1928. As his words suggest, Henri was celebrated in her day, and her work exhibited in shows including Das Lichtbild in 1931. Moving to Paris, she opened a successful studio and worked on advertising projects as well as her own images. Her work later became overlooked, however, and she renounced photography in the early 1960s.

Read it all HERE >>> Source: BJP Florence Henri: Reflecting Bauhaus

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