She was best known as the dynamic leader of the Milan-based Feltrinelli publishing empire. Inge Feltrinelli was a terrific photographer, too. Her post-war portfolio often shot in Europe, New York City and Cuba raises interesting questions about photography and photographers.
Feltrinelli died in late September. Was her photography celebrated because of its compositional or technical excellence? No, not likely. Sure, there is a B&W textural allure to many of her images, but her effectiveness was more likely due to the simple fact that she got access.
With the instincts of a photojournalist, Feltrinelli was good at finding the action, crashing events and, yes, ingratiating herself with photogenic celebrities. Her shots of (and with) Hemingway, Picasso and Greta Garbo are among the best known in her repertoire.
Now don't get me wrong. Feltrinelli was no Henri Cartier-Bresson. Yet her works teaches us the power of persistence and the benefits of not being too shy as a photographer.
Images courtesy of Inge Feltrinelli