‘The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography’ screenings start Aug. 11

August 10, 2017

Starting Friday, Aug. 11, the Rehoboth Beach Film Society's Cinema Art Theater will present “The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography,” a documentary which caringly portrays an unassuming, gifted and whimsical analog photographer.

“The B-Side” begins with Dorfman's personal narrative of her struggle to find an identity as a young woman coming of age in the 1960s. When a colleague presented her with a Hasselblad camera on a whim, Dorfman quickly declared, "I'm a photographer!" and began her new journey. In 1980 Dorfman found her ultimate medium: a rare large-format camera devised by the Polaroid Corp. The instant photographs it produced were enormous - 20 inches wide and 24 inches tall - with saturated colors and unparalleled detail.

The film traces Dorfman's love affair with the 20x24, while also presenting the wide range of formats in her portraits taken of families, Beat poets, rock stars, and Harvard notables over 35 years. As pictures begin to fade and her retirement looms, Dorfman gives Errol Morris an inside tour of her backyard archive. She always took at least two 20x24s per portrait session, but her clients only purchased one. The remaining portrait was "The B-side." Like the flipside of 45s, Dorfman's B-sides are hidden treasures when revisited.

“The B-Side” is a loving portrait of a unique artist too often overlooked in considerations of 20th century photography. It revels in the intimate beauty of Dorfman's portraits and in her singular appreciation for the ordinary aspects of human life.

Screening times are 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 11, 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 12, 7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 14, as well as 4 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 16-17. Tickets can be purchased at the Cinema Art Theater, starting 30 minutes prior to each screening. Admission for a screening is $8 for RBFS members and $10 for future members. All screenings are held at the Cinema Art Theater located at 17701 Dartmouth Drive in Dartmouth Plaza, behind the Lewes Wawa.

For more information on this series, other events, or to become a member, go to, or call 302-645-9095.


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