Helmar Lerski

Helmar Lerski (18 February 1871, Strasbourg - 19 September 1956, Zürich) was a photographer who laid some of the important foundations of modern photography. His works are on display in the USA, Germany, Israel and Switzerland. He focused mainly on portraits and the technique of photography with mirrors.

His real name was Israel Schmuklerski. The family moved in 1876 to Zürich, Switzerland, where the family was naturalized. In 1888, Lerski emigrated to the United States, where he worked as an actor. Around 1910, he began to photograph. In 1915, he returned to Europe and worked as a cameraman and expert for special effects for many films, including Fritz Lang's Metropolis. At the end of the 1920s, he made a name as an avant-garde portrait photographer.

In 1932, he emigrated with his second wife to Palestine, where he continued to work as a photographer, cameraman, and film director. On 22 March 1948, they left what was now Israel and settled again in Zürich.

Photographic work

  • Series Köpfe des Alltags: 1928 - 1930, published 1931
  • Series Metamorphosen: 1936, published 1982

Selected filmography

See also


  • Lerski, H.: Köpfe des Alltags, Berlin: Verlag Hermann Rockendorf, 1931.
  • Ebner, F.: Metamorphosen des Gesichts. Die "Verwandlungen durch Licht" von Helmar Lerski. Steidl Verlag, Göttingen 2002. ISBN 3-88243-808-8.
  • Eskildsen, U. (ed.); Lerski, H.: Verwandlungen durch Licht. Metamorphosis through Light,, Freren: Luca, 1982.
  • Eskildsen, U.; Horak, J.-C.: Helma Lerski, Lichtbildner. Fotografien und Filme 1910-1947, Folkwang Essen 1982.
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