His life and work
Erich Lessing was born in Vienna in 1923 as the son of a dentist and a concert pianist. His father died of cancer in 1933. Sixteen-year-old Erich Lessing managed to escape to Palestine in 1939, but his mother and grandmother were murdered in Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. Lessing studied radio engineering at the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. Working as a taxi driver and a carp breeder in a kibbutz, he eventually found his way back to the hobby of his youth, photography. He started out as a kindergarten and beach photographer before joining the British 6th Airborne Division.
Returning to Austria in 1947, Lessing was hired as a photo journalist for the American news agency Associated Press. In 1951, David 'Chim' Seymour invited him to join
In the course of his career, Erich Lessing covered many significant political and social events. His photographs illustrate the atmosphere of post-war Europe, such as Allied occupation in Vienna, reconstruction in war-damaged Germany, life under communist rule in Eastern Europe, several political summit conferences, Charles de Gaulleâ€™s visit to Algeria in 1958 and the dramatic events of the Hungarian Uprising in 1956.
Erich Lessingâ€™s photographs were published in renowned magazines including
From the 1960s, Lessing increasingly turned towards art and historical subjects, specializing in large-format colour photography. He photographed thousands of works of art in museums and visited historical sites and places of archeological interest. His work was published in more than sixty art books by international publishers:
Having taught photography in Arles, at the Venice Biennale, at the Salzburg Summer Academy and at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Erich Lessing has been honored with numerous international awards such as The Art Directors Club Medal for his work during the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and the Prix Nadar for his book
Erich Lessing was married to the