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WEISS, Sabine

PORTRAIT-WEISSBorn in 1924 in Saint-Gingolph, Switzerland.

Lives in Paris.


A “photographer of light and tenderness”, Sabine Weiss studied photography at the Boissonas studio in Geneva, gained her diploma in 1945, and has since sought out people with tireless curiosity. She settled in Paris in 1946, becoming the assistant of fashion photographer Willy Maywald. This trained her in the best studio-lighting techniques, yet paradoxically she learned how important natural light is as a source of emotion.

From 1952 to 1958, she was under contract with Vogue, carrying out numerous fashion reports and portraits of famous artistic figures.

A member of the Rapho Agency since 1952, she is associated with the “humanist” photographers who captured the history of the ’50s and ’60s into photography. She collaborated regularly with the American press, and in parallel did interior-design commissions and worked in advertising. Sabine Weiss is a deft master of colour and black-and-white reportage in very diverse fields.

A great traveller with a passion for the arts as well as for everyday life and religious matters, she has published several thematic books on the theatre, cities, and children; and a monograph Intimes Convictions, published by Contrejour in 1989. She was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres honour in 1999.

Over time, she has gradually devoted herself to black-and-white reportage, which enables her to express more calmly and simply her chance encounters with humankind and its world. Wandering with her lens, she captures touching moments, revealing in a single gesture the essence of others.

A retrospective exhibition will be presented at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris as part of Paris Photo Month 2008.

Sabine Weiss presented her work at the Rencontres d’Arles in 2008: The 1950s were happy times indeed at the Espace Van Gogh.



Sabine Weiss is represented by the Rapho Agency.