Photography inspiration: Dora Kallmus.

October 31, 2011


This might become a new feature on this blog - if I can keep it up that is! I want to try to {self} portray photo's of models and photographers from the Golden era or before that, that inspire me to the bone. Often when thrifting the world wide web for inspiration, I stumble upon great sources.
I am not the person that copies the work of others unthinkingly. I advocate creativity on every aspect available. One should always stay at his or her own signature, give things their own twist. But portray something that lies hidden deep in the past, is a different story. With that I try to let history re-live. Yet, even though I will portray photography of bygone era photographers, I wíll give my own twist to it. Just like the portrait of Gloria Swanson a long time ago, but again, with my own twist { and different feathers }!

Anyway; this time I stumbled upon a female photographer which photographers skills left me speechless. And thát doesn't happen to me that often. I am talking about none other than Dora Kallmus. I found her on the net when I was looking for silent era photographers.

Dora Kallmus was an Austrian-Jewish fashion and portrait photographer who went by the name Madame D'ora. Dora, born in Vienna in 1881, came from a respected family of Jewish lawyers. In 1905 she was the first woman to be admitted to theory courses at the Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt { Graphic Training Institute }. In that same year, Dora became a member of the Vienna Photographic Society. In the year 1907 she opened a studio together with Benda in her place of birth, called Benda-D'ora studio. Their gallery was so populair, that they opened another studio in Paris in 1924.

In Paris, Madame D'ora became internationally known for her society and fashion photography throughout the 1930s and 1940s. She worked for example with; Josephine Baker, Tamara de Lempicka, Maurice Chevalier, Colette, Niddy Impekoven, to name only but a few.

But when the Germans invaded France, Madame D'ora fled to a convent in the country side.  Dora returned to France in 1946 and re-opened a studio.

Dora died in 1963 in Austria.

Now, one portrait Madame D'ora took, spoke to me the most and that one I wanted to {self} portray immediatly. Facebook friends already saw the photograph pass by, and me totally lyrical about it.
But before I am gonna show you my portrait; let me first introduce you to some work of Madame D'ora! Hopefully you like them as much as I do!

This is the portrait that spoke to me the most:

And here's mine:

As you can see; there are a few slight differences. I chose for a different face expression. A more serene one. My excision is different aswell, as are my hands. Nonetheless, I do hope you people out there like my self portrayed photograph, inspired by the wonderful and talented Madame D'ora!

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  1. Amazing self portrait! Really. I do appreciate it as I can't take quite good self portratis unfortunately. I must practise it;)

    The photos taken by Dora Kallmus are really amazing. I'm speechless.

  2. Thanks so much for your always so lovely words Blanka!

    Yeah, Dora was her time ahead, and that's what made her unique! I must admit that taking this portrait was a challenge, but a nice one. Alot of photoshop is involved aswell!

    I am not a professional photographer and I do not have a studio or the right illumination. That's where photoshop steps in!

  3. What amazing photographs! Had not heard of her before - what talent she had!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  4. I’m ashamed of myself as I have never heard of Dora Kallmus. Thank you for sharing this. And your self portrait is very good. I would swear it was made by a professional.

  5. I think you can dedicate some post to your love 1920s make-up.
    It looks really good;)

  6. That's an idea!
    I've promised some followers a vid tut!!

  7. What an amazing post! I think I saved most of the images here, thanks for exposing me :) AND I love your version!


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