Louise Emma Augusta Dahl (November 19, 1895 – December 11, 1989) was a noted American photographer. She is known primarily for her work for Harper's Bazaar, in association with fashion editor Diana Vreeland.Dahl was born in San Francisco, California to Norwegian immigrant parents. In 1914 she began her studies at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute) where she stayed for six years. She studied design, decoration and architecture at Columbia University, New York in 1923. In 1928 she married the sculptorMeyer Wolfe, who constructed the backgrounds of many of her photos. Dahl-Wolfe was known for taking photographs outdoors, with natural light in distant locations from South America to Africa in what became known as "environmental" fashion photography. She preferred portraiture to fashion photography. Notable portraits include: Mae West, Cecil Beaton, Eudora Welty, W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, Orson Welles, Carson McCullers, Edward Hopper, Colette and Josephine Baker. She is known for her role in the discovery of a teenage Lauren Bacall who she photographed for the March 1943 cover of Harper's Bazaar. She was a great influence on photographers Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. One of her assistants was fashion and celebrity photographer, Milton H. Greene.
From 1933 to 1960, Dahl-Wolfe operated a New York City photographic studio that was home to the freelance advertising and fashion work she made for stores includingBonwit Teller and Saks Fifth Avenue. From 1936 to 1958 Dahl-Wolfe was a staff fashion photographer at Harper’s Bazaar. From 1958 until her retirement in 1960, Dahl-Wolfe worked as a freelance photographer for Vogue, Sports Illustrated, and other periodicals.
In 1999, her work was the subject of a documentary film entitled Louise Dahl-Wolfe: Painting with Light. The film featured the only surviving modern footage of Dahl-Wolfe, including extensive interviews. It was written and directed by Tom Neff, edited by Barry Rubinow and produced by Neff and Madeline Bell.