All family snapshots look alike, except to the people in them—and except, perhaps, to Elsa Dorfman, BI ’73. May 16, 2018 - Explore Andrew Ullman's board "Elsa dorfman" on Pinterest. “The Fog of War,” in 2003, featured the ruminations of Robert S. McNamara, who oversaw a large part of the Vietnam War, while “The Unknown Known,” in 2013, examined Donald H. Rumsfeld and his part in the war in Iraq. “Absolutely not,” she says with a laugh. It doesn’t go by a script.". She was 83. She speaks of living in New York City in the late ’50s as a single woman, and of working as a secretary at the publisher Grove Press, where she met the poet Allen Ginsberg, a lifelong friend. The B-Side traces Dorfman’s love affair with the 20x24, while also presenting the wide range of formats Dorfman’s portraits and self-portraits haven taken over the years—from early 2-¼" negatives to prints produced by Polaroid’s even larger-format 40x80 instant camera. Armed with her new camera, she began to photograph her friends at the Grolier Book Shop in Harvard Square—including such writers and luminaries as Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley, Robert Lowell, and Charles Olson. She doesn’t want to plumb the depths of her subject’s souls or "to take more than they’re willing to give." R.I.P. The remaining portrait was "the B-side." Star: Elsa Dorfman. A look at the life and work of photographer Elsa Dorfman. Yesterday, we lost the coolest of the cool.

In 1974 she published “Elsa’s Housebook — A Woman’s Photojournal,” a milestone in both American photography and feminist art. For the next thirty-five years she captured the "surfaces" of those who visited her Cambridge, Massachusetts studio: families, Beat poets, rock stars, and Harvard notables.

It revels in the intimate beauty of Dorfman’s portraits and in her singular appreciation for the ordinary aspects of human life.

An obituary by Mark Feeney appeared in the Boston Globe almost immediately that begins “Elsa Dorfman, whose large-format Polaroid color portraits made her famous in the world of photography, and whose ebullient personality made her famous in the world of Cambridge, died Saturday at her Cambridge home. “Elsa, do you think the camera tells the truth?” he asks. Mr. Morris made this portrait in the aftermath of Polaroid’s discontinuation of its large-format film and Ms. Dorfman’s subsequent retirement. Portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman found her medium in 1980: the larger-than-life Polaroid Land 20x24 camera. She always took at least two 20x24s per portrait session, but her clients only purchased one. R.I.P. She relocated to Cambridge, Mass., and worked at Grolier Poetry Bookshop, all the while snapping pictures of the luminaries she met there and, perhaps more crucially, of herself and her home life. Elsa currently takes appointments for portraits at her Cambridge, Massachussetts studio and in Manhattan. Oops! Like the flipside of 45s, Dorfman’s B-sides are hidden treasures when revisited. The B-Side is a loving portrait of a unique artist too often overlooked in considerations of 20th century photography. Ithaca, New York 14850 Programming at Cinemapolis is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The instant photographs it produced were enormous—20 inches wide and 24 inches tall—with saturated colors and unparalleled detail.

She photographed staples of the Boston rock scene such as Jonathan Richman (frontman of The Modern Lovers), and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. But there probably is no narrative. Elsa is known for her unique portraits taken with a large format Polaroid 20x24 camera.

120 E. Green Street. Dorfman pulls out portraits one by one and holds them up for Morris—for the first time in recent years without his trademark Interrotron. If you didn’t know anything about Ms. Dorfman, who’s 80, you might initially take her for a nice old lady with an unusual hobby — someone akin to the American eccentrics Mr. Morris portrayed in his early features, such as “Vernon, Florida” and “Gates of Heaven.”. Dorfman, with whimsical charm and wit, gives her longtime friend a tour of her backyard garage-turned-archive. But the thousands she’s taken over the years, all Polaroid portraits, really are exceptional. Onward, Elsa. ©MMXX.

“The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography,” Mr. Morris’s new film, is a feature of modest length on a subject of seemingly modest import, particularly relative to those other movies.

Ms. Dorfman emerges as an artist of deep compassion, empathy, humor and wisdom. Dorfman … "Life," Dorfman says, "is hard enough. As pictures begin to fade and her retirement looms, Dorfman gives Errol Morris an inside tour of her backyard archive. Dorfman’s approach to portraits—large or small—is simple.

The MFA is running three very compelling shows simultaneously, from Lucian Freud’s haunting paintings, to Elsa Dorfman’s cheery photos, to a collection of self-portraits on paper. Still, it would not be entirely unfair to note that his best-known films of this century are portraits of major historical figures — specifically, two United States secretaries of defense. As photographs begin to fade and Dorfman’s retirement looms, Morris’s film reminds us of a bygone era of analog photography and the extraordinary life of one of its champions. The result is a surreal show-and-tell, as Dorfman shares the stories behind her photographs and her spontaneous musings on life. But it wasn’t until 1980 that Dorfman found her ultimate medium: a rare large-format camera devised by the Polaroid Corporation. She was known for her use of a large-format instant Polaroid camera. Map It. See more ideas about Elsa, Polaroid photography, Allen ginsberg. ", Dorfman ultimately reveals a neglected section of her archive in The B-Side. Your submission has been received! Elsa Dorfman passed away on May 30, 2020. When a colleague presented her with a Hasselblad camera on a whim, Dorfman quickly declared, "I’m a photographer!"

But you would be wrong, and this is part of the point that Mr. Morris makes, quietly, with this enjoyable but also profound movie.

Elsa DORFMAN (1937-2020), American portrait photographer. All rights reserved.

Elsa DORFMAN (1937-2020), American portrait photographer. Later, though, as she pauses in her descriptions of the pictures she pulls from her files, she speaks of “how many people are dead, and how many people struggled,” and you can feel how her work has revealed some truths about that.

Part of Mr. Morris’s reputation as a great documentary filmmaker is derived from his friendly-seeming but pressing interview technique, but here, when he’s heard, he speaks to Ms. Dorfman as a friend, and she responds to him with warm reminiscences of her beginnings as a photographer. This is the place to find her famous photographs of Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan and other beat generation poets. Elsa Dorfman's home page is now at Eventually, a combination of luck and persistence led to her setting up a portrait studio equipped with a Polaroid camera that produced 20-inch-by-24-inch prints.

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American photographer Elsa Dorfman, known for her intimate large-scale portraits of well-known figures including Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg and Faye Dunaway, died last Saturday at age 83. It’s just what happened.

NEON Rated, LLC. During a montage of photographs of Ginsberg, he is heard in a late-’50s audio recording reading his great poem “America.” Lines like “America when will you end the human war” and “America why are your libraries full of tears” resonate with a particular poignancy even today, as does “America when will you be angelic.” “The B-Side” is a portrait of a genuine American angel. The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography.

"I think one thing about having all the pictures," she says, "is you sort of search for the narrative. Cinemapolis

Thank you! Dorfman was bewitched by the scale and clarity of this magical camera. “The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography,” Mr. Morris’s new film, is a feature of modest length on a subject of seemingly modest import, particularly relative to those other movies.

Now, she reflects, her B-sides look "perfectly wonderful.".

Portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman found her medium in 1980: the larger-than-life Polaroid Land 20x24 camera. A look at the life and work of photographer Elsa Dorfman. For one thing, they’re 24 inches tall and 20 wide, produced by a 200 … The B-Side begins with Dorfman’s personal narrative of her struggle to find an identity as a young woman coming of age in the 1960s. Errol Morris, the documentarian who is also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, works in such a wide range of subjects that he’s difficult to pigeonhole. You don’t need to walk around with a picture of it. Elsa Dorfman, the portrait photographer best known for using one of the few giant Polaroid 20×24-inch cameras in existence, has died. Sign up to receive the weekly email newsletter with showtimes, events and coming attractions. …

Instead, she and her camera celebrate the people who step into her studio—their surface appearances, personalities, idiosyncrasies, and everyday triumphs.