Elsa Dorfman (1937-2020)

Elsa Dorfman – Self-Portrait

Another passing to announce – Too many of the tribe going – day-by-day –  Elsa Dorfman (“Ellie”), doyenne of the large-scale Polaroid, photographer par-excellence, of Allen (and Peter, Robert Creeley & others). She died this morning (she’d been ailing for a while), passed away from kidney failure. She was 83.

Check out our posting on her – here on the Allen Ginsberg Project  – for her 75th birthday

Check out the richly-engaging elsadorfman.com 

Don’t miss (of course!) Errol Morris‘ wonderful movie on her – The B Side

Here’s Errol and Elsa at the Lincoln Center opening , in 2017, in a Q & A after the film

Here’s more of Errol on Elsa

Here‘s her obituary. today in The Boston Globe 
and here on local radio station WBUR
and here on Artforum

Our thoughts go out to her long-time partner, Harvey Silverglate

Harvey Silverglate, Elsa Dorfman, Allen Ginsberg, December 21, 1995. c. Elsa Dorfman

Rest in Peace, Ellie. We love you.


  1. So sorry to hear about your death . And very sorry to miss saying goodbye to you …. will miss you .. your spirit , your smile, your child-like spontaneity….. Keep God entertained.
    My Sympathies with
    Harvey ,
    Isaac & Family

    Byron Diggs

  2. Elsa Dorfman was a wonderful person – warm, generous, funny, passionate – and a terrific photographer. I will always be grateful for having met her a couple times, the first time being perhaps the most memorable. Allen had a book signing for Collected Poems at Grolier Bookshop in Cambridge, Ma in 1985. I went to the signing, re-introduced myself to Allen (I’d met him the year before) and he invited me over to Elsa’s house where he was staying. What followed was a beautiful evening of eating and talking and meeting people and ended with Allen and I sleeping (chastely) together at Elsa’s. Allen took a photograph of me that night and it ended up being included in his magnificent book of photographs. And throughout the evening, Elsa held court and made everyone (some Harvard students, other family friends) feel like we were one big family.

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