“Self Portrait In Mirrors” by Ilse Bing: March Collection Highlight

High Museum of Art
Mar 10 · 2 min read

Learn about Ilse Bing, a photographer whose work documented the “new woman” of the early twentieth century.

Video credit: Ashley Wills

Ilse Bing (American, born Germany, 1899–1998) received her first camera as a teenager and continued to explore the medium as a complement to her doctoral studies in art history. By 1929, she decided to pursue photography professionally and moved from Frankfurt to Paris, where she quickly established herself as a leading photojournalist.

A highly experimental printer, she was also among the earliest photographers to adopt the newly introduced 35 mm Leica camera, whose small size and fast shutter allowed her to experiment boldly with angles, cropping, and movement.

Self portrait by Ilse Bing taken using mirrors.
Self portrait by Ilse Bing taken using mirrors.
Ilse Bing (American, born Germany, 1899–1998), Self Portrait in Mirrors, Paris, 1931, printed ca. 1941

Bing made numerous self-portraits, including this famous rendering of herself in mirrors, a complex and dazzling image that shows her with her revered Leica.

As she later put it, “I felt the camera grew as an extension of my eyes and moved with me.”

In the video above, learn more about Ilse Bing from Sarah Kennel, the High’s Keough Family Curator of Photography. See works by Bing and other artists in the High’s upcoming exhibition Underexposed: Women Photographers from the Collection (on view April 17 through August 1).

This is just one of over eighteen thousand artworks in our collection. The High is your place for digital content!

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