Sabine Weiss: Legend of street photography dies at 97

Pioneering photographer Sabine Weiss, who was the last surviving member of France's celebrated humanist school, has died aged 97 at her home in Paris.

Although she had stopped taking pictures, Weiss was actively involved in her archive until her death. Born in Switzerland, she learned her art in Geneva, moving to Paris after World War Two. She became renowned particularly for her images on the streets of Paris, and for 70 years remained at the heart of French photography.

Image source, Sabine WeissImage caption, Sabine Weiss opened a Paris studio in 1950. Man lighting a cigarette, Paris 1950, was from that period, four years after she arrived in the French capital.Image source, Sabine WeissImage caption, She immortalised day-to-day life in Paris and much of her work featured the lives of children. This image from 1953 depicts children chained to a barge.Image source, Sabine WeissImage caption, Weiss began taking pictures when she was 18. This self-portrait is from 1953. Weiss said last year she went to morgues and factories for her pictures, photographing the rich and covering the fashion world. Everything else she did for herself spontaneously, she said.Image source, Sabine WeissImage caption, In 1952, she met the photographers Robert Doisneau and Edward Steichen and joined their Rapho photo agency. This picture is from Porte de Vanves in Paris.Image source, Sabine WeissImage caption, Man running is one of Sabine Weiss's most iconic works and actually features her husband Hugh. Weiss told him to start running "but not too far".Image source, Sabine WeissImage caption, In this picture, Weiss captured artist and sculptor Alberto Giacometti as he drew his wife Annette in 1954Image source, Sabine WeissImage caption, She began to travel widely around Europe, the Middle East and the US. On this trip to Portugal she took this image in the modern fishing village of Olhao.Image source, Sabine WeissImage caption, She would tour Paris by night with her painter husband Hugh Weiss, taking street scenes – and here an exit from the Metro in 1955.Image source, Sabine WeissImage caption, Weiss said once that her aim was to capture "snotty-nosed kids… beggars… and the little piss-takers".Image source, Sabine WeissImage caption, During the 1950s and early 1960s she worked widely for international publications. Among her clients were Newsweek, Time, Life, Esquire and Paris Match. She captured this image in New York in 1955.Image source, Sabine WeissImage caption, Brigitte Bardot featured in one of Weiss's portraits for the Rapho agency, here trying on a Vichy skirt in 1959. Weiss was also well known for her portraits of Benjamin Britten, Igor Stravinsky and cellist Pablo Casals.Image source, Sabine WeissImage caption, Robert Doisneau brought her on to the books at Vogue magazine where she worked for nine years. This picture was taken in Berlin in 1962.Image source, LOIC VENANCE/AFPImage caption, Pictured here in 2020, Sabine Weiss was awarded the Women In Motion prize in honour of a lifetime of work. She donated her archive in 2017 to the Elysée museum in Lausanne in Switzerland.

Sabine Weiss's pictures are all reproduced by kind permission of her family and long-time assistant Laure Augustins.

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