Alex Binder

Alexander Binder was the most important German portrait photographer of movie stars of the silent movie era

He had nearly all important movie stars of his time in front of his camera, among others Emil Jannings, Ernst Lubitsch, Hans Albers, Greta Garbo, Willy Fritsch, Lilian Harvey, Leni Riefenstahl, Douglas Fairbanks and Lil Dagover.
Alexander Binder was born in Alexandria in 1888 and was presumably of Swiss origin. Later he studied engineering science without finishing it.
From 1908 he worked for the Munich Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt für Photographie where he learnt the ability of a photographer.
He took the plunge in 1913 into the freelance work and he founded his first own photo studio in Berlin. Two years later he moved at the Kurfürstendamm where he became the No. 1 address for portraiture. His photo studio was regarded as the biggest one in Europe in the 20s.
Already at an early stage of his career he portrayed silent movie stars. Many of his photographs were published by publishers like Photochemie and especially Ross which are still existing today as autograph cards in a huge number. The actor/actresses portraits made him famous internationally.
Besides his portrayal he also worked for advertisements and for the fashion trade.
Alexander Binder often marked his photos with his in white written signature “Binder” in the picture.
For the atelier Binder may have worked many photographers over the years and a lot of them learnt their trade at this studio.
Alexander Binder died surprisingly in 1929 at the age of only 40 years. He was on the height of his career.
His photo studio was continued by his wife Binder-Allemann, his two daughters and by Liesel von Stengel. Like Alexander Binder all were Jewish. In 1938 the National Socialists dispossessed them and Liesel von Stengel was deported to the KZ Theresienstadt. There she was able to survive the inhuman conditions as a Kapo – an attendant nominated from the prisoners. She died in Ascona/Switzerland in 1978. It is unknown what happened with the family Binder.
The photo studio survived but there are different information about the continuation. On the one hand they say that the photographer Hubs Floter took over the studio in 1938 – he was an employee of the studio since 1935 – and that after his conscription call his wife took over the function. On the other hand they say that the photographer Karl Ludwig Haenchen continued the photo studio in 1938.
During the years 1929 till 1938 (perhaps even longer) the pictures of the studio were still published with the signature of Alexander Binder, while Alexander died in 1929.
After World War II the photo studio Binder was taken over by the company Hasse und Wiese.

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