Nov 5, 2020
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Kering’s Women in Motion Award for photography goes to 96-year-old Sabine Weiss

Nov 5, 2020

Kering has awarded its Women in Motion Award for photography, presented in partnership with Les Rencontres d’Arles, to Sabine Weiss, a truly venerable photographer whose work spans an eight-decade career.

Sabine Weiss, the 96-year-old winner of Kering's Women in Motion Photography Award

The luxury conglomerate made the award to Weiss despite the cancellation due to the pandemic of Les Rencontres d’Arles, the most celebrated festival of photography in Europe.

“Still active today, Sabine Weiss is a prolific artist who has made a major contribution to the humanist school of French photography, which includes the likes of Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis and Brassaï. At the age of 96, she has probably enjoyed the longest career of any photographer, having devoted nearly 80 years to her art,” Kering said in a release.

Swiss-born Weiss bought her first Bakelite camera with pocket money when was she was eight. Later moving to Paris after WW2 to apprentice with German fashion photographer Willy Maywald and publish per first reportage aged 21. She is best known for her gritty yet sensitive portrayals of post-war youth and huge compendium of portraits of creative geniuses including Coco Chanel, Igor Stravinsky, Stan Getz, Benjamin Britten, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alberto Giacometti, Jeanne Moreau and Brigitte Bardot, among many others.

A truly outstanding photographer, Weiss is the second recipient of the Women In Motion Award. The inaugural prize went to American photographer Susan Meiselas. The annual Women In Motion Award for photography is given in recognition of the career of an exceptional woman photographer, accompanied by €25,000 in prize money for the acquisition of works by the winning photographer for the collection of Les Rencontres d’Arles.

The partnership between Kering and Les Rencontres d’Arles also led to the founding of the Women In Motion LAB in 2019, dedicated to a research project highlighting women’s contribution to the history of photography. Led by women historians Luce Lebart and Marie Robert, with the help of 160 women experts in photography from every continent, the project looks at the work and careers of some 300 women who have made their mark on photography from the very beginning.

Kering is also collaborating for the first time with the Paris Photo art fair - supporting the Paths Elles X Paris Photo 2020 exhibition organized by France’s Ministry of Culture.

As in Arles, the traditional Paris Photo fair at Le Grand Palais was called off this year due to Covid-19, and replaced with Paths Elles X Paris Photo, a digital exhibition available at ellesxparisphoto.com. It features interviews with some 30 women photographers about their status as female artists and their sources of inspiration; and also the work of  Weiss.


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