Sabine Weiss

Una vita da fotografa

Exhibition produced by Atelier Sabine Weiss and Photo Elysée
With the support of Les Rencontres de la photographie d’Arles and Jeu de Paume
Under the patronage of The Consulate General of Switzerland in Milan


Light, gesture, gaze, movement, silence, tension, rest, rigor and relaxation. I would like to include everything in this moment so that the essential nature of the human being may be expressed with the slightest of means.

Sabine Weiss


Sabine Weiss (1924–2021) is probably the longest-standing photographer in history. She was one of the key representatives of the post-war movement that is usually referred to in France as ‘humanist photography’, and to which photographers such as Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis or Edouard Boubat belonged.
Reportage, illustration, fashion, advertising, artist portraits as well as her own personal work: Sabine Weiss approached all areas of photography as a challenge, a pretext for meeting and travelling, a way of life and a means of self-expression.

The retrospective titled A photographer’s life, to which she contributed up until her last breath, bears witness to the passion of a lifetime and highlights the dominant elements of a way of working in constant empathy with the human being. Through more than 140 original prints, 50 archive documents and three film excerpts, the artist outlines an approach to photography inspired by an insatiable curiosity for others, both in France, where she settled in 1946, as well as in almost all European countries (including Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Germany, Austria, England, Denmark, Malta and Hungary), the United States and Asia, where she continued to travel right up until the end of her life.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue in Italian and English published by Marsilio Editori.


Listen to the words of curator Virginie Chardin

Sabine Weiss

Born in Saint-Gingolph in Switzerland in 1924, Sabine Weber decided to become a professional photographer at the age of just 18. After a three-year apprenticeship in Geneva, she settled in Paris in 1946 and worked as the assistant to Willy Maywald, a fashion photographer and society portraitist. At the same time as she married the American painter Hugh Weiss in 1950, she set up as a freelance photographer and quickly became known for her street photography, which enabled her to join the Rapho agency alongside Robert Doisneau and Willy Ronis in 1953. From then on, she worked intensively for the international illustrated press and travelled throughout Europe.
Her work was celebrated by numerous solo exhibitions in New York and Chicago in the early 1950s, and three of her images were featured in the famous exhibition The Family of Man in 1955.
In 1964, the birth of her daughter Marion led her to reduce her reportage work and concentrate on advertising and fashion, but in the late 1970s, she resumed her personal black-and-white work and undertook numerous trips to Central Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Over the last ten years of her life, her fame grew tremendously, and in 2020 she received the Women in Motion Kering Prize and Rencontres d’Arles Career Award.


H 12

Chiostri di San Pietro | Laboratorio Aperto




This was followed by a screening of SABINE WEISS, ONE CENTURY OF PHOTOGRAPHY (57’) fr sub ita


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via Emilia San Pietro
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