Salomon, Erich

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SALOMON, ERICH (1886–1944), German photographer. Trained as a lawyer in Berlin, Salomon took up photography as a full-time profession when the 35-millimeter camera appeared in 1925. This small camera allowed a candidness and instantaneousness which had been the aim of documentary photographers since the invention of the camera. Salomon first used this camera for behind-the-scenes glimpses of internationally famous political personalities at League of Nations conferences in the late 1920s. An audacious, ingenious cameraman, his many subterfuges included cutting a hole in his derby hat for a concealed lens; wearing an armsling which hid both camera and the little glass slides he first used; and carrying an impressive leather-bound volume hollowed out to serve the same purpose. Another of his famous tricks was to place the camera in a flowerpot, window sill, or desk, and trigger the shutter by a cable release hidden in flowers, carpet, or wall. Salomon was one of the world's first photo-historians. He covered the League of Nations, diplomatic and other meetings in Geneva, Paris, London, and Washington. Erich Salomon died with his family in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. A son, Peter Hunter-Salomon, survived the Holocaust and published a book on his father, Portraet einer Epoche (1963).

[Peter Pollack]