Self-expression and profession: female photographers’ self-portraits in Berlin 1929-1933

Rycroft, Sophie (2014). Self-expression and profession: female photographers’ self-portraits in Berlin 1929-1933. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.

PDF - Redacted Version

Download (427kB)


This thesis is the first in-depth study of female photographers’ images of themselves, with their cameras, working in Weimar Berlin. A focus on three self-portraits by women at the heart of the so‐called ‘New Photography’, will allow insight into the importance of the self- portrait genre for female photographers, who sought to establish themselves in this rapidly developing field. The photographers Lotte Jacobi (1896-1990), Eva Besnyo (1910‐2003) and Marianne Breslauer (1909-2001) have diverse photographic oeuvres yet each produced an occupational self-portrait whilst in Berlin between 1929 and 1933. It is argued in this thesis that Jacobi, Besnyo and Breslauer asserted their professionalism in these foci self-portraits, which was particularly important due to the restrictions that still existed regarding working women. A professional image was even more significant due to the illustrated press associating photography with leisure when the camera was in the hand of a woman. It is also argued in this thesis that whilst photography still maintained an association with perceived reality for many in Weimar Germany, the self-portraits in this study do not present an objective and realistic representation of the photographer, but rather a complex construction of identity that is performed rather than revealed.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DD Germany
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
T Technology > TR Photography


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year