De Dienes, Andre

Andre de Dienes was born in 1913 in Turia, Transylvania (now Romania). Following his mother’s suicide, he left home at 15 and traveled throughout Europe, mostly by foot, before ending up in Tunisia, North Africa, where he worked odd jobs, learned to paint, and purchased his first camera. In 1933 de Dienes arrived in Paris to study art and bought his first Rolleiflex camera. Fascinated with taking pictures, he made a living selling photographs to publishing companies, including La Humanite (a Communist newspaper) and worked for The Associated Press until 1936 when famous Parisian couturier Captain Molyneux encouraged de Dienes to become a fashion photographer.

In 1938, with the help of Esquire magazine editor Arnold Gingrich, he emigrated to the US and settled in New York to work for Esquire, Vogue, and LIFE. De Dienes spent his vacations traveling parts of the US, taking pictures of the scenic grandeur of the Western United States and especially the Hopi, Navajo, and Apache Indians.

Dissatisfied with the restrictions of fashion photography, he moved to Hollywood in 1944 to pursue his real passion of photographing nudes and outdoor scenes. An emotional and passionate photographer, de Dienes’ objective was to see the beauty in nature, and in an effort to make his photographs as true to life as possible, he never retouched them. He believed that to take good photographs, one must have great patience, imagination and endurance, and the capacity to reveal both truth and beauty.

De Dienes’ work on nudes has generated twenty-four books published in the US, England, and Germany. Married twice but with no children, de Dienes died in 1985.