PARIS — Kering’s Women in Motion photography award for 2020 has been granted to Sabine Weiss, throwing the spotlight on a storied career that has spanned decades.
The 96-year-old photographer, who remains active, contributed to the humanist school of the art, capturing black-and-white images from the daily lives of working people, children and artists, on cobblestone streets and in dusty studios.
The award of 25,000 euros is part of Kering’s partnership with photography festival Les Rencontres d’Arles, with the funds going toward acquiring works of the winner for the festival’s collection. Last year’s award was granted to American photographer Susan Meiselas.
Kering, which is also known for promoting women in film, has been deepening ties with the photography festival, and last year set up a Women in Motion Lab to draw up research projects focusing on the role of women in photography. The project is led by historians Luce Lebart and Marie Robert.
This year, Kering is collaborating with the Paris Photo art fair and supporting the French culture ministry’s Elles x Paris Photo 2020 exhibit. The show, which was going to take place at the Grand Palais in Paris, has shifted online due to the coronavirus lockdowns in France. The festival, which takes place in Arles, France, has also shifted online.
Weiss, who was born in Switzerland, worked as an assistant to German fashion and portrait photographer Willy Maywald in the late Forties, before setting off on her own. Based in Paris, she took part in the city’s postwar arts scene, and was married to American painter Hugh Weiss.
She became one of only a few women employed by the Rapho photo agency, with the support of Robert Doisneau. Known in the U.S., her photos were shown in exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art inNew York in 1953 and 1955, and later at the Art Institute of Chicago and in French photo fairs.
She has remained active over the years, working for The New York Times, Vogue, Newsweek and Paris Match.