April 30, 2009

KCWC Elsbeth Juda at L'Equipement des Arts Gallery

Cindy Stern organised a visit to the Elsbeth Juda exhibit at L'Equipement des Arts. Elsbeth, a 97 year-old photographer always known professionally as "Jay", joined us after we had the opportunity to view her amazing exhibit. L'Equipement des Arts worked with Elsbeth to print 100 photographs using negatives loaned by the V&A and National Portrait Gallery.

Elsbeth enthralled us with her stories as a photographer for her husband's magazine "The Ambassador, the British Export Magazine" which had a circulation in 90 countries at its peak. She explained that after WWII, Britain desperately needed to export British goods. Jay and her husband Hans were grateful to Great Britain for providing them sanctuary, and wanted to repay this kindness. Jay created exciting photographs on a very limited budget. She spoke of the generosity of many famous personalities dedicated to this cause, such as top-model Barbara Goalen who did her own make-up for the photo shoots.

Other pictures in the exhibit included Winston Churchill and Henry Moore. Elsbeth gave up professional photography ~1965 because she felt she "wasn't quick enough" (the equipment needed was enormous in those days). She never regretted this decision and went on to other creative endeavours. When asked how she maintains her vibrancy and intellect - she replied "Every day I visit a new gallery, otherwise I would lose track of the days."

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