Quote of the Week by Erwin Blumenfeld


“I was an amateur – I am an amateur – and I intend to stay an amateur. To me, an amateur photographer is one who is in love with taking pictures, a free soul who can photograph what he likes and who likes what he photographs.” —Erwin Blumenfeld (1897-1969)

Erwin Blumenfeld was an American-German photographer best known for his editorial photographs, experimental fine art works, and portraits of cultural icons. Often in both his independent and commissioned works, the artist combined black-and-white images with small areas of bright, vibrant colour. Born in Berlin, Germany, Blumenfeld worked as an amateur photographer during his childhood. Following World War I, the artist began working professionally and garnered international attention for his portraits of artists Henri Matisse and Georges Rouault. In 1937, he began working for French Vogue, and became well-known around the world for his shoots with Josephine Baker and Carmen Dell’Orefice. During World War II, the artist was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp for two years, on account of his Jewish heritage, and was released in 1941 to travel to New York for work. In the post-World War II era, he was the highest-paid photographer in the world and in high demand for editorial photo shoots.  His work is currently held in the collections of the Riksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Berlinische Galerie in Berlin, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York.