© Bertrand Huet. Tutti Images, 2022


Lower East Side, (Big Woman Pointing), New York
Lisette Model
Gelatin silver print on baryta paper
Printed area size: 49,2 × 39,3 cm
Paper size: 50,4 × 40 cm
ca. 1942
Vintage print
Born: Viena, 1901
Died: Nueva York, 1983

© Bertrand Huet. Tutti Images, 2022


Upon her arrival in New York in 1938, fleeing from the rise of fascism in Europe, Lisette Model became fascinated by the city, particularly by the Lower East Side, an immigrant and working-class neighborhood whose environment reminded her of European cities. Many photographers had been attracted to this part of town such as Rebecca Lepkoff, who captured its street life; Gjon Mili, who focused on night clubs; and Weegee, who created a ruthless vision of the area. From the onset, Lisette Model focused on society’s extremes—the rich, and underprivileged people—highlighting solitude and human fragility.

Passersby and people on sidewalks caught Model’s attention In New York. Lower East Side (Big Woman Pointing), a photograph taken during her first years in the city, incorporated many of the aesthetic motifs that were recurrent in the artist’s work. The compact volume of an elderly woman dressed in a thick coat, from which a menacing hand emerges, occupies the entire frame. The low-angle shot, a device the author frequently used, emphasizes the woman’s size, granting her an imposing, violent, and to a certain degree comical stance. Model would tend to photograph everything that might frighten her in some way, something she frequently encouraged her students to do.


© Bertrand Huet. Tutti Images, 2022

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