Ida Kar

(1908 - 1974)
Ida Kar William Turnbull, born 1929 1955 © National Portrait Gallery, London


Ida Kar will be remembered as the photographer who did more than anyone else to raise the status of the profession in Britain during the two decades after the Second World War. In 1960 she staged a large retrospective of her portraits at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, one of the earliest one-person photography shows. Her portraiture of major artistic figures reflected her personal experience of bohemian circles in Paris and London. Although breaking new ground, Kar failed to integrate herself into the increasingly commercial photographic environment of the 1960s. She died in obscurity in a Bayswater bedsit in 1974.