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Elsa Dorfman Edit Profile


Elsa Dorfman is a photographer, known for her use of a large-format instant Polaroid camera.


Elsa Dorfman was born in 1937 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.


Dorfman earned a BA in French Literature at Tufts University (1959) and an MA in Education at Boston College (1962).


She takes photographs mainly of her family and friends; also self-portraits and portraits of women. . The artist is known for her portraits of the American poets Allen Ginsberg and Robert Creeley. She "uses an informal snapshot style that belies the sense of composition and aesthetic concerns [and] always has a long descriptive title in longhand and a black line around the image."

Dorfman moved to New York City in 1959 and found a job as a secretary to the editors at Grove Press, a leading Beat publisher. In 1963, Dorfman began working for the Educational Development Corporation whose photographer, George Cope, introduced her to photography in June 1965.


  • PUBLICATIONS Books: Three Afternoons with Charles Olson, 1980,- Elsa’s Housebook- A Woman’s Photojournal, 1974; His Idea, w/Robert Creeley, 1973 (Coach House Press: Toronto, Ont.). Anthology: The Photograph Collector's Guide, Lee D. Witkin & Barbara London, 1979.


  • Other Work

    • Portrait of Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg, 1975.


From 1972 to 1974 she was a fellow at Harvard University's Bunting Institute.