Photographer, Visual Artist
1911 – 1980
Who was Izis Bidermanas?
Born in Marijampolė, present-day Lithuania, Bidermanas arrived in France in 1930 to become a painter. In 1933, he directed a photographic studio in the 13th Arrondissement of Paris. During World War II, being a Jew, he had to leave occupied Paris. He went to Ambazac, in the Limousin, where he adopted the pseudonym Izis and where he was arrested and tortured by the Nazis. He was freed by the French Resistance and became an underground fighter. At that time he photographed his companions, including Colonel Georges Guingouin. The poet and underground fighter Robert Giraud was the first to write about Izis in the weekly magazine Unir, a magazine created by the Resistance.
Upon the liberation of France at the end of World War II, Izis had a series of portraits of maquisards published to considerable acclaim. He returned to Paris where he became friends with French poet Jacques Prévert and other artists. Izis became a major figure in the mid-century French movement of humanist photography — also exemplified by Brassaï, Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau and Ronis — with "work that often displayed a wistfully poetic image of the city and its people."
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