What we did here is now admired as the forerunner of something
Auerbach studied photography under Walter Peterhaus, a prominent member of the Bauhaus. Peterhaus was engaged in bringing new objectivism into photography, which in turn heavily influenced Auerbach’s work. She co-founded the world-renowned Ringl + Pit advertising agency with Greta Stern and their heavily collaborative work was influenced by both Constructivism and the Surrealists. – They were the archetypal ‘New Women’. Auerbach belonged to a special generation of artists generally and women artists specifically who were breaking the mould. Her view of women and her work photographing them pushed forward notions of how the female form is portrayed in advertising and the media. She traveled extensively throughout her life, most notably to Mexico where she documented churches and the fading religious traditions there. Her photographic sensibility was based on the idea that the medium can unlock the essence of the subject and a retrospective in Germany in the 1980’s led the re-discovery of her work by a number of younger photographers and graphic designers.
A superb documentary film, featuring both Ellen and Greta reflecting on their lives and work together was made in 1995 by Juan Mandelbaum. Information about it can be found in www.ringlandpit.com