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May 31, 2023

The Studios Biederer and Ostra

Born in Moravska-Ostrava, Czechoslovakia in 1887, Jacques Biederer moved to Paris in 1908 and opened a photography studio: he was joined by his brother Charles in 1913. He most likely began as a portrait photographer, and his earliest known photographs are of nudes in classical poses typical of the era. Over time his compositions became more contemporary; he began to shoot outdoors and created sets that told a simple story, such as a romantic couple cavorting in a park.

Published as Éditions Ostra, their photographs during the 1920s and 1930s ranged from artistic nudes to sexual fetish studies including bondage, costumed role play, and erotic corporal punishment. They also produced a series of silent fetish movies depicting scenes of dominance and submission such as Dressage au fouet.

The brothers named the business ‘Ostra Studio’ in homage to their hometown – Moraska-Ostrava. Some postcards bear the signature JB, B, Ostra or a question mark in a triangle. Other photos can identified by style, furniture and models. Biederer was a forerunner of later photographers and artists with similar interests such as Charles Guyette, John Willie and Irving Klaw.

In 1940 France was invaded by Nazi Germany; the German occupation lasted until 1944. The Biederer brothers, of Jewish descent, were seized by the Nazis and deported to the concentration camp at Auschwitz where they perished.

Ostra photographer:

Some photos from Éditions Ostra, brothers Biederer, Paris.


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