Gelatin silver print
Image: 18.8 x 28.2 cm (7 3/8 x 11 1/8 in.); Matted: 40.6 x 50.8 cm (16 x 20 in.)
© Estate of Ilse Bing
John L. Severance Fund 1989.386
In 1936 one of Ilse Bing’s patrons arranged for her to spend almost two months in New York City. In this daytime view of Manhattan’s skyscrapers shot from an elevated train platform, a self-portrait is hidden in the glass cover of the coin-operated scale. Bing also photographed the skyline by night, declaring the city’s lighting “phosphorescent.” The scale of the metropolis made her feel, she recalled, like “an atom wandering in the universe.” Bing and her work were enthusiastically received there. She had a solo exhibition of her photographs and met with magazine editors at Fortune, Time, and Life, which was then still in the conceptual stages. Despite possible employment, she returned to Paris to be with her fiancé, pianist and musicologist Konrad Wolff.
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