Ilse Bing, Dancer, Willem van Loon, Paris 1932 The Sir Elton John Photographic Collection © The Estate of Ilse Bing

Ilse Bing Dancer, Willem van Loon, Paris 1932 The Sir Elton John Photographic Collection © The Estate of Ilse Bing

Experimental approaches to shooting, cropping and framing could transform the human body into something unfamiliar. Photographers started to focus on individual parts of the body, their unconventional crops drawing attention to shape and form, accentuating curves and angles. Fragmented limbs and flesh were depersonalised and could be treated like

a landscape or still life, dissolving distinctions between different genres. Thanks to faster shutter speeds and new celluloid roll film, photographers could also freeze the body in motion outside of the studio for the first time, capturing dancers and swimmers with a clarity impossible for the naked eye.

The camera should be used for a recording of life, for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh.
Edward Weston, 1924