The Hague

Photograph by Erich Salomon

What’s a meeting that isn’t photographed by Salomon? People won’t believe it’s important at all!

Aristide Briand, Prime Minister of France

The Hague

  • Erich Salomon
  • 1930

Portly statesmen have long gathered to weigh the fate of nations, cigars and brandy at the ready. But they were always sequestered far from prying eyes. The German photojournalist Erich Salomon changed all that, slipping into those smoke-filled back rooms with a small Leica camera built to shoot in low light. Nowhere was his skill on greater display than during a 1930 meeting in the Hague over German World War I reparations. There, at 2 a.m., Salomon candidly shot exhausted Foreign Ministers after a long day of negotiations. The picture created a sensation when it was published in the London Graphic. For the first time, the public could look through the doors of power and see world leaders with their guard down. Salomon, who died in Auschwitz 12 years later, had created backstage political photojournalism.

See Salomon's early candid photos of world leaders

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