18 Extraordinary Portraits of Women From the 1920s and 1930s

Else Neuländer Simon, also known as Yva, was an extraordinary photographer in the early 20th century. Born in 1900 in Berlin, she worked her magic through fashion and advertising photography as well as owning a popular studio. She had a keen eye for the sensual interplay of light and shadow and used lines and curves to dramatically display the women she photographed.

Frequently, she said more about a subject by deliberately avoiding the model’s face. Many photos focused on, or depicted solely, a woman’s legs, and they were sexy and sophisticated works that endure through today. The importance of her art and her role are reflected in the fact that she taught Helmut Newton, who went on to become one of history’s most famous photographers.

In 1942, Yva and her husband, Alfred Simon, were arrested and deported to the Majdanek concentration camp where they were killed most probably in 1942.

(Photos by Else Neuländer Simon)

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