Alexander ‘Sasha’ Stewart, born 1892 in Edinburgh, moved to London and launched his professional photography career in 1914. In 1920, Sasha opened his first London studio in Bloomsbury. A technical virtuoso and popular amongst the upper class, the photographer’s theatrical and society portraits were frequently seen in sophisticated journals such as The Tatler, The Sketch and Illustrated London News.

As brilliant as he was charming, Sasha was known for his inventions and studio innovations, none more so than the Sashalite. Produced by General Electric with key input from the photographer, the Sashalite debuted in 1930 and was the first commercial flashbulb available in the UK. Sasha used the powerful light generated by the bulbs to capture his trendsetting and signature dramatic shadows and frozen motion.

Esme Fitzgibbon British actress in costume as Madeline for a stage production of ‘The Ratby sasha.1924

The English ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn (Margaret Hookham) (1919 – 1991) holding a mask by sasha. 1920-30

A Norman Hartnell evening gown. by sasha. 1920-30

The Australian beauty Dorothy Blanchard, who has just left London to join the Ziegfeld Follies, reclining on a sumptuous bed. by sasha. 1925

The English actress Hermione Baddeley (1906 – 1986).. by sasha. 19220-30

Alice Joyce (1890 – 1955) in London to play the lead in a film, ‘The Passionate Adventure’. by sasha.1925

A woman wearing a fashionable hat decorated with leaf motifs by Peron. by sasha. 1925

A woman wearing a cloche hat decorated with flowers by sasha.1925-30

A unknown model wearing a Paquin feathered headdress. by sasha.1920-25

A woman wearing a fashionable woven hat decorated with jewellery by Peron. by sasha. 1925

A woman wearing a jewelled headdress designed by Paquin by sasha.1924

advertissement for A Schiaparelli hat by sasha. 1930s

An actress appearing in the play ‘Libel’ at the Playhouse theatre. . by sasha.1934

Portrait if the Dancer Kyra Alanova. . by sasha.1929

Show ring rider Mrs Sam Marsh wearing a top hat and a veil over her face. . by sasha.1920

The English actress Vivien Leigh (1913 – 1967). Original Publication in People Disc by sasha.Nd

Frances Day (1907 – 1984) in ‘Floodlight’.by sasha.1925

American authoress Anita Loos, who wrote ‘Gentleman Prefer Blondes’.. by sasha. nd

British actress Dorothy Seacombe by sasha. 1926

Lady Castlerosse modelling the medieval-style costume and wimple she will wear to the Galaxy Ball Pageant, held at London’s Park Lane Hotel. by sasha.1929

The American dancer, Ardath de Sales in costume for ‘Mercenary’, a show at London’s Hippodrome Theatre. by sasha. 1925

Entertainer Elsa McFarlane stands on the bonnet of a Rolls Royce car, mimicking the Silver Lady figurine, in a production of ‘The Co-Optimists’, at the Vaudeville Theatre in Londonby sasha. 1929

Dancer Muriel Gaunt by sasha. 1939

The Australian dancer Dorothy Blanchard, who has just left London to join the Ziegfeld Follies, sitting by the fireplace by sasha. 1925

The Film actress Marjory Brooks. by sasha.1927

Cecily Byrne as Lydia Webster in the Lyric Theatre’s production of ‘Baby Cyclone’. by sasha.1928

Catherine Lacy as Ricciada in the first production of ‘Night’s Candles’, at the Queen Theatre. by sasha.1933

The Glamorous Australian dancer Dorothy Blanchard smoking a cigarette. by sasha.1925


Kyra Nijinsky (1913 – 1998), daughter of the famous Russian dancer and one of the principals of ‘Cochran’s Streamline Revue’ at the Palace Theatre, London.. by sasha.1930s

Chorus girls in Felix Ferry’s Monte Carlo Follies are performing in London at Grosvenor House.. by sasha. 1930s

The Dancer Laura Devine performing a shadow dance during a production of C B Cochran’s show ‘This Year of Grace’ at the London Pavilion. by sasha.1928

A dancer dancing in a British National Opera Company production at His Majesty’s Theatre, London by sasha. 1924

Stanislawa Welska performs an exotic dance which produces a dramatic shadow. by sasha. 19330s

A dancer cowering from a shadowed pair of hands looming over her on stage. by sasha. 1930

The Singer and dancer Bunty Pain, one of Cecil B Cochran’s chorus girls, wearing a diaphanous dress. by sasha. 1929

Tilly Losch (1904 – 1974) dancing in an extravagant costume, in a scene from the show `Wake Up And Dream’. by sasha.1929

The Dancer and actress Tilly Losch (1904 – 1974), one of the principals in ‘Streamline Revue. by sasha.1934

Tilly Losch and Tony Birkmayr in ‘Wake Up And Dream’ at the London Pavilion Theatre. by sasha.1929

Austrian dancer Tilly Losch and Roman Jasinsky dancing in a production of the ballet ‘Errante’ at the Savoy Theatre, London, with choreography by George Balanchine, and costumes by Paul Tchelitchev sasha. 19230s

A couple dancing the Charleston in a scene from the play ‘Just A Kiss’ at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London. by sasha.Nd

dancer and choreographer Serge Lifar and classical Russian ballerina Alice Nikitina performing the Russian ballet La Chatte (‘The Cat) Music H .Saguet, choreography G. Balanchine, designs Gabo and Pevsner. by sasha.1927

Nini Theilade, Indonesian ballet dancer, adopting a ballet pose for a studio portrait by sasha. 1933

Musical comedy actress Jessie Matthews (1907 – 1981) poses in a swimsuit. by sasha.1931

The Russian ballet dancer Alexandra Danilova (1904 – 1997) dancing in a Diaghilev production of ‘Swan Lake’ by sasha.1926

The Actress Binnie Hale dancing in the musical comedy, ‘Mr Cinders’, at the Adelphi Theatre, London by sasha. 1929

Dancing nymphs, in a scene from the play ‘Comus’ at the Open Air Theatre, Regents Park, London by sasha.1934

Members of the Margaret Morris dance troupe dancing out-of-door in accordance with the Margaret Morris Movement (MMM) interpretation of dance.. by sasha.1927

Tap dancers in ‘Voila Les Dames’ at the Prince of Wales Theatre. London hold hearts in front of them as they dance by sasha.1935

British actress Jessie Matthews (1907 – 1981) wearing a headdress decorated with ostrich feathers for her appearance in Charles B Cochran’s musical spectacular ‘Ever Green’ at the Adelphi Theatre, London. by sasha.1930

Binnie Hale surrounded by a huge plume of feathers in the show, `Mr Cinders’’. by sasha.1929

An unusual view of the ‘Albertina Rasch Girls’ who appear in the show, ‘Wild Violets’ at the Drury Lane Theatre, London by sasha.1933

The Albertina Rasch chorus girls who are appearing in ‘Wild sasha.1933

The Albertina Rasch Girls who appear in the show ‘Wild Violets’. From top to bottom Inga Anderson, Nosie Dale and Vida sasha.1932

The English ballet dancer Leslie Burrows performing a dance entitled ‘Fear’. by sasha.1934

A woman standing on a beach. by sasha.1930

A couple kissing in a scene from the play ‘Just A Kiss’ at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London. by sasha. 1926

American dancers Estelle & Leroy, in action at the Savoy Hotel, London. by sasha. 1934

Composer and actor Ivor Novello (1892 – 1951) with just his face seen peering through a spy hole in a door by sasha. 1928

The English ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn (Margaret Hookham) (1919 – 1991) holding a mask by sasha. 1920-30

A close-up of the hands of Jessie Matthews (1907 – 1981), dancer and film-star. by sasha.1930

Chorus girls singing on stage, whilst wearing eye masks by sasha.1930

A group in a model boat in a scene from the show ‘Peggy Ann’, at the Dalys Theatre by sasha.1927

English actress and dancer Phyllis Monkman (1892 – 1976) with Welsh composer and actor Ivor Novello (1893 – 1951) in ‘Downhill’ at the Queens Theatre. by sasha.1926

Noel Coward (1899 – 1973) and Gertrude Lawrence (1898 – 1952) in ‘Private Lives’ at the Phoenix theatre by sasha.Nd

Santa Proud Fashions by sasha.1930s

Ruby Stewart, currently appearing in a musical at the Gaiety Theatre, London by sasha.1937

Stage and screen actress Joyce Bland (1906-1963), who is currently playing the lead role in ‘Mary Bloome’ at the Embassy Theatre. by sasha.1931

Stage and screen actress Joyce Bland (1906-1963), who is currently playing the lead role in ‘Mary Bloome’ at the Embassy Theatre. by sasha.1931

Roberto Baccarini Part II

Roberto Baccarini Arimand-Banu gelatin silver print, 1930’s

Roberto Baccarini Elizaveta “Lila” Nikolska gelatin silver print, 1930’s

Roberto Baccarini. Nude , gelatin silver print 1930

Roberto Baccarini Mary Raoul sul set di ‘Fiori d’arancio’ ,gelatin silver print, 1930’s

Roberto Baccarini Rosetta Pedrani , 1930s, gelatin silver print.

Roberto Baccarini -Wanda Osiris ,1930’s gelatin silver print

Roberto Baccarini – Wanda Osiris ,1930’s gelatin silver print

Roberto Baccarini Nana de Herrera ,gelatin silver print, 1930’s

Roberto Baccarini – Wanda Osiris ,1930’s gelatin silver print

Roberto Baccarini Lina Gennari ,1930s gelatin silver print, 1930’s

Roberto Baccarini – Lidia Martora ,1930’s, gelatin silver print.

Roberto Baccarini Jo-Hai Tong Vintage gelatin silver print, 1930’s

Roberto Baccarini Bea Egervary gelatin silver print, 1930’s

Roberto Baccarini Elizaveta “Lila” Nikolska gelatin silver print, 1930’s

Roberto Baccarini Claude Génia Vintage gelatin silver print.

Roberto Baccarini Donna Maria Mirka 1940

françois bertin

François Bertin Untitled, 1925 , gelatine silver print From EroticPhotography by Alexandre Dupuy p149 , 2011

François Bertin – Untitled, 1925 , gelatine silver print From Erotic Photography by Alexandre Dupuy p149 , 2011

Francois Bertin – Untitled,  1925 Gelatin-silver print

Francois Bertin- untitled, 1925 gelatine silver print From EroticPhotography by Alexandre Dupuy , 2011

Francois Bertin- untitled, 1925 gelatine silver print From EroticPhotography by Alexandre Dupuy , 2011

Protégé : Pécsi József (1889 – 1956)

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Hans Robertson ( 1883-1978)

“When Lotte Jacobi’s photos were exhibited together for the first time four years ago, reviewers were dazzled by how many of Weimar Germany’s glittering jewels—from Käthe Kollowitz to Martin Buber to the famously vampy Lotte Lenya—had been captured by her lens. She seemed to have single-handedly taken on the task of portraying the immense artistic, psychological, and political fervor of those tumultuous years, which seemed fragile even at the time—an ambitious task for any one photographer, even one as hungry as Jacobi. But her atelier was, in fact, one of 400 in Berlin, and she was just one of the many—mainly Jewish—photographers feverishly recording the dancers, writers, and actors that made this doomed moment in German history so extraordinary. Another photographer who clicked away at an incredible rate and with singular results was Hans Robertson.

To say that an artist has been forgotten is to imply that he was well known in his time. Robertson’s name—like that of Jacobi and most other commercial photographers—was not familiar outside the circle of performers who were his subjects and magazine editors who used his services. But from the evidence of only a fraction of his prolific output, discovered almost by accident and now on display at the Berlinische Galerie in Berlin, his work deserves attention.

Robertson’s specialty was expressionist dance. And expressionist dance was huge in 1920s Germany: the avant-garde innovations that had taken place at the turn of the century in everything from painting to fiction became popularized, and dance was transformed from an aesthetic exercise into an attempt to translate the inner life into movement. The gestures of this modern dance were primitive, dramatic, almost ritualistic, with a fetishistic focus on the human body. Mary Wigman, one of its main innovators, slid across the floor on her knees, eyes closed, fists clenched, performing her Witch Dance. Her school in Dresden became a center of this Ausdruckstanz, producing world-renowned modern dancers like Harald Kreutzberg and Yvonne Georgi.

They all posed for Robertson. His studio on bustling Kurfürstendamm—a boulevard that was both the Fifth Avenue and the 42nd Street of Berlin—saw a steady stream of business in the late 1920s and early ’30s. But the commercial aspect of these photos, which were in demand by popular illustrated journals like the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, is less important than the artistic vision that guided their creation. Robertson was trying to use his camera in much the same way the dancers he photographed were using their bodies. From the creative way he manipulated light to his innovative use of multiple exposures, he wanted to capture more than just straightforward ornamental shots of the dancers. He was trying to convey their new art form on its own terms.

This is clear in the photographs. The series called “Leaps,” of Gret Palucca, a favorite muse of expressionist painters and the Bauhaus crowd, catches Palucca in mid-air, limbs splayed. Only part of her body is in focus—the ability to photograph sudden movement was itself a recent technological advancement. In one image her naked torso is twisted, in another her back arched. Then there are the soulful photos of Jo Mihaly, performing her one-woman piece, “Mütter.” She stands in front of a black screen wearing a black turtleneck, her pale, emotive face almost floating in the frame and illuminated from above by a single beam of light. On the more abstract end are Robertson’s photos of Harald Kreutzberg performing his “Lunatic Figures.” Robertson overlays three different exposures of the famously shaved headed dancer, capturing the various expressions of madness Kreutzberg is embodying. Even in Robertson’s more straightforward photo of Kreutzberg as a lunatic, holding a flower and posed loose as a marionette puppet, he captures the dancer as a depersonalized body, a trope of Expressionism that would later inspire, among other post-war dance forms, Japanese Butoh.

Of Robertson’s biography, says the curator of the Berlinische Gallerie show, Thomas Friedrich, “there are more questions then answers.” He was born in Hamburg in 1883. After studying engineering—a profession that inspired a few early photos of construction sites and workers—he changed course and headed to St. Mortiz where he apprenticed for the Swiss landscape photographer Albert Steiner. At 28, Robertson’s first photo spread—a pictorial tour through Holland—appeared in Photographische Rundschau. But his photo career would have to wait until 1918, when he arrived in Berlin. There he joined Lili Baruch—one of the disproportionately high number of Jewish women then making her living with a Leica—who set up the studio on Kurfürstendamm, specializing in dance photography, which Robertson took over in 1928.

To produce the thousands of photos he printed over the next five years, Robertson most likely worked long days and weekends. In addition to dance photography, he shot a wide range of portraits of many of the era’s personalities, from the famous—a nude profile of the boxer Max Schmelling—to the forgottn, such as a close up of the publisher Irmgard Klepenheuer, gazing intently at the camera, a cigarette between her fingers.

In 1933, following Hitler’s appointment as chancellor and the subsequent boycott of Jewish businesses, Robertson had an inkling of what was to come. He handed over the studio to his apprentice, Siegfried Enkelmann. One of the few documents Friedrich, the curator, has been able to uncover is a contract signed by Robertson that makes the transfer final, and describes Enkelmann as “reliable.” And he was. The protégé survived the war and continued photographing dancers (including Mary Wigman) until his death in 1978.

Robertson and his coquettishly beautiful wife, the actress and dancer Inger Vera Kyserlinden (born Levin), escaped to her native Denmark. While the avant-garde movement had been taking place in Berlin, Paris, and Prague, most photographers in Copenhagen were stuck in the pictorial style of the 1910s. As a result, in 1963 Robertson established the first modern photography school in Denmark. But eight years later, just before Hitler began deporting Danish Jews, the Robertsons were forced into exile again, this time fleeing to Stockholm. They returned in May of 1945 and Robertson died just five years later at the age of 67. Thousands of his photographs were turned over to the Royal Library of Denmark following his wife’s death in 1969.

Over time, Robertson was reduced to little more than a footnote. And not just proverbially: It was literally in a footnote in 1992 that Friedrich—a charming, slightly disheveled curator who thrives on the detective work involved in resurrecting dead photos and their makers— discovered his name. He was intrigued, but it took another 14 years (after encountering Hans Robertson’s name in another context) for Friedrich to finally take a trip to Copenhagen to peruse the archive at the Royal Library. What he found there astounded him. Not only did Robertson’s photos offer the most comprehensive catalogue of Weimar dance, but his work was also that of an artist with a unique style and vision. Friedrich still marvels that Robertson’s photos manage to look so distinct from one another, even though they were all taken in the same studio.

The building that housed that studio, on Kurfürstendamm, no longer exists. Like it did in much of Berlin, new construction in the 1950s erased what was before. Now two pharmacies, a clothing store, and a nondescript café look out from the ground floor. There is no trace of the glamour and wild experimentation that was once captured there in pictures. But Hans Robertson himself might yet have an afterlife: Friedrich, it seems, is planning a large retrospective for 2011.” BY Deborah Kolben and Gal Beckerman [ freelance writers living in Berlin.]

Hans Robertson – Le Bain, 1933

Hans Robertson – Alfred Jackson Girls in Wintergarten, Berlin, 1922

Hans Robertson- Expressionist dance dancer unknown, Berlin,1920, (From documented the Weimer era dance scene in the 20′s)

Hans Robertson -The dancer Harald Kreutzberg in Irre Gestalten, Berlin, 1928

Hans Robertson- Unknown Dancer, Berlin, 1920′s

Hans Robertson -Little Viola, 1920′s

Hans Robertson -Zwaniger Jahre Atelier“Lili Baruch”, Berlin,1927

Hans Robertson The famous Weimar dancer Elizabeth Bergner, 1930

Hans Robertson- Lydia Wieser, nd ( probably 1920′s)

Hans Robertson- Gret Palucca, Berlin, 1930

Hans Robertson - Dancer unknown- Berlin, 1930's

Hans Robertson – Dancer unknown- Berlin, 1930′s

Hans Robertson - Dancer unknown ( détail)- Berlin, 1930's

Hans Robertson – Dancer unknown ( détail)- Berlin, 1930′s

Hans Robertson- Gret Palucca, 1920s

William Mortensen- Taken In West of Zanzibar , 1928 published in New Projection Control, 1942


William Mortensen- Taken In West of Zanzibar , 1928 published in  New Projection Control, 1942

William Mortensen- Taken In West of Zanzibar , 1928 published in New Projection Control, 1942

William Mortensen- Taken In West of Zanzibar , 1928 published in  New Projection Control, 1942

William Mortensen- Taken In West of Zanzibar , 1928 published in New Projection Control, 1942



Jerzy Benedykt Dorys (1901-1990)

Benedykt Jerzy Dorys est principalement connu en tant que très grand portraitiste (photographique). Son studio, basé à Varsovie, déjà avant la guerre, était un lieu des plus tendance pour ne pas dire « branché » de la Ville de Varsovie et et se faire photographier Dorys n’était pas seulement de bon goût, mais révélait un signe d’appartenance à crème de la crème de l’époque.

Moins connues, mais tout aussi intéressantes sont ses photos de mode et ses quelques photos artistiques du corps nus. Dorys adorait les femmes et a su en sublimer toute les beauté et ce que je vous propose aujourd’hui à travers des portraits et des nus

Jerzy Benedykt DORYS (1901-1990) Tancerka z wężem , 1930s

Dorys Jerzy Benedykt- Tancerka z wężem , 1930s

Jerzy Dorys Benedykt- Act II, 1932

Jerzy Dorys Benedykt- Act II, 1932

Jerzy Benedykt DORYS (1901-1990) Akt, przed 1939

Dorys Jerzy Benedykt- Akt, przed 1939

Jerzy Benedykt DORYS Maria Gorczyńska, 1935

Dorys Jerzy Benedykt – Maria Gorczyńska, 1935

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