Ilse Bing (American/German, 1899–1998), was a leading photojournalist and commercial photographer during the pre- and inter-War period in Paris. Bing was born in Frankfurt to a Jewish family who encouraged her intellectual education, as well as her education in arts and music. In the 1920s, while studying art history and mathematics at the universities in Frankfurt and Vienna, Bing purchased a Leica camera and immediately became intrigued with the world of photography. She rapidly became involved in the field, and got commissioned work for magazines such as Das Illustriete Blatt, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar. Her unique photographic work has earned her the title "Queen of the Leica" from her well-known artist peers.
In 1936, Ilse Bing was given a solo exhibition at the June Rhodes Gallery in New York, where she stayed for three months. Bing was impressed with the New York City lifestyle, and, eventually, after marrying pianist Konrad Wolff in 1937, immigrated, and lived there until her death in 1998.
Bing is known for her experimentations with photographic techniques, and for being among the first to use electronic flash, solarize her negatives, and photograph at night. In 1957, she switched from black and white to color photography,.
In 1959, Bing abandoned photography completely, but continued to create drawings and collages, and write poetry. In 1976, she was rediscovered as a photographer by The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Her work was later included in exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Kunstverein in Frankfurt, and the Musée Carnavalet in Paris.