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Works trailblazing British female photographer Elsbeth Juda go on display
On the Embankment, London, 1951. Barbara Goalen in Norman Hartnell couture © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

LONDON.- Jewish Museum London’s Welcome Gallery presents a retrospective of the late British photographer Elsbeth Juda (1911-2014), a Jewish émigré who brought a new modernist artistic vision to Britain from Germany. Although a trailblazing female photographer, Juda's artistic contribution is largely unrecognised today. She disregarded commercial photography’s formal conventions, using unusual, often incongruous backdrops for her shoots.

Juda was best known for her work for The Ambassador magazine in the 1950s and 1960s. This exhibition, organised in collaboration with L’Equipement des Arts, showcases a selection of her output, featuring glamorous commercial shots and portraits of some of the best-known faces in British art and design. Subjects range from Barbara Goalen, Britain’s first supermodel, and the Sadler’s Wells Ballet to politicians like Winston Churchill and artists like Henry Moore and Peter Blake.

Juda was born in Germany in 1911 and fled Nazi occupation for London with her husband Hans in 1933. In 1946, Hans relaunched the established trade journal International Textiles as The Ambassador magazine, focused on promoting British fashion, art, culture, trade and industry for the global export market. With Hans as editor and Elsbeth as in-house photographer and associate editor, The Ambassador was published monthly in English, German, French and Portuguese, and had subscribers in over 90 countries. The magazine coined the phrase “export or die” to justify Juda’s elaborate photo-shoots.

Juda also worked for advertising companies and fashion magazines including Harper’s Bazaar. She studied photography with the Bauhaus photographer Lucia Moholy (wife of artist László Moholy-Nagy) and many of her subjects became not only close friends but also collaborators. This meant that Juda was extremely well connected in the art world, giving her unparalleled access to some of the UK’s most famous artist, designers and personalities of the time.

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