Alex Binder (1888–1929) was the founder of Atelier Binder. From the late 1920’s through the 1930s, Atelier Binder was the largest photo studio in Europe.
Alexander Binder was born in Alexandria in 1888. The photographer was Jewish and probably of Swiss origin. He studied engineering, but interrupted his studies prematurely. From 1908 to 1910 he attended the Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt für Photographie, Chemie, Lichtdruck und Gravüre (Teaching and Research Institute of Photography, chemicals, light pressure and engraving) in Munich and then went to Berlin. There he opened in 1913 his first photo studio, Atelier für bildmäßige Porträt Photographie in a room in the Motzstraße.
Two years later he moved his studio to Kurfürstendamm 225, in a posh shopping and entertainment area in the centre of Berlin. He soon became one of the leading photographers of Berlin. Binder created advertising and portrait photography. His focus was primarily on celebrity and fashion photography.
Binder’s photos were exhibited in 1921 at the first Annual Exhibition of Photography at the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) in Berlin.
In 1925-1926 he had an exhibition in London. Berlin was at the time the Mecca of the European film industry. Binder photographed all the stars of the German silent cinema, including Conrad Veidt, Lilian Harvey, Leni Riefenstahl, the Italian Carmen Boni, the Dutch Truus van Aalten and the Hungarian Lya de Putti. During the filming of Die Freudlose Gasse/The Joyless Street (1925, G.W. Pabst), he also portrayed the young Greta Garbo.