Saturday, June 11, 2016
Germaine Luise Krull (1897 –1985) was a photographer, political activist, and hotel owner. Her nationality has been categorized as German, French, and Dutch, but she spent years in Brazil, Republic of the Congo, Thailand, and India. Described as "an especially outspoken example" of a group of early 20th-century female photographers who "could lead lives free from convention", she is best known for photographically-illustrated books such as her 1928 portfolio Métal.
In World War II, she became disenchanted with the Vichy France government, and sought to join the Free French Forces in Africa. Due to her Dutch passport (from a convenience marriage with Dutch cineaste Joris Ivens) and her need to obtain proper visas, her journey to Africa went via a year in Brazil (1941–1942) where she photographed the city of Ouro Preto. Between 1942 and 1944 she was in Brazzaville in French Equatorial Africa, after which she spent several months in Algiers and then returned to France.
Devant les grands magasins, by Germaine Krull (1929)
After World War II, she travelled to Southeast Asia as a war correspondent, but by 1946 had become a co-owner of the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand
After retiring from the hotel business in 1966, she briefly lived near Paris, then moved to Northern India and converted to the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism. After a stroke, she moved to a nursing home in Wetzlar, Germany, where she died in 1985.