"I am sure I shall never feel too old to do what I want."
Ida Kar (1908–1974). Pseudonym of Ida Karamanian (or Karamian), Armenian photographer and militant born in Tanbov, Russia. She grew up in Russia, Armenia and Iran before her family moved to Egypt when she was 13. In 1928 she was sent by her parents to study medicine and chemistry in Paris, where she quickly came into contact with Surrealists; she attended the première of Un chien andalou, an experience that sparked an interest in photography. In 1933 she returned to Egypt where, with the aid of her then husband, she opened an experimental photographic studio, Idabel. It was there, later in the 1930s, that she met Georges Henein, Ikbal El Alaily and other members of the Egyptian Surrealist group; she took part in their activities, exhibiting in their Art et Liberté shows in 1942 and 1944. In 1945 she moved with her second husband, the artist and critic Victor Musgrave, to London where she met up with E. L. T Mesens, Paul Nash and other members of the English Surrealist group. By the mid- 1950s her status as a photographer was firmly established, thanks to her portraits (e.g., of Hans Arp, André and Elisa Breton, Man Ray, Mesens and Joan Miró). She exhibited at Musgrave’s Gallery One in 1954 (Forty Artists from Paris and London) and had a very successful one-woman show at the Whitechapel Gallery six years later. Her subjects included artists, writers, composers and museum directors and her work is exemplified by her bromide prints of Alan Davie and Keidrich Rhys. True to her principles, she refused offers of commercial work in advertising and fashion and instead set out to photograph animals and stones after producing 100 portraits of people. Her revolutionary fervor found expression on a soapbox in Hyde Park.
Keith Aspley, Historical Dictionary of Surrealism, (Lanham,Toronto, Plymouth,The Scarecrow Press, Inc, 2010), pp. 278-279