The Easel

31st March 2020

The radical transformation of Madame D’Ora

In fin-de-siècle Vienna, Kallmus made her first career in charming but conventional fashion photography and society portraiture. After WW2, her focus shifted radically to the “unperfumed world” of refugees and slaughterhouses. A survey show is fascinating not because of any one image but because of this “strangely inevitable swerve, … penance [to] make up for the slick lies that preceded them.” A video (4 min) is here.

24th March 2020

Gloves: Through the Magnum Archive

Fashion piece, social anthropology or photo essay? Perhaps all three. Gloves go way, way back – they were in Tutankhamen’s tomb. They are a source of some fascination in photography because of their potent symbolism – warmth, protection, glamour, the erotic. Plus, let’s be honest, status. “[A] white glove is only desirable when it’s pristine … [they] nod to the fact that one won’t be getting their hands too dirty”.