She majored in Literature at « La Sorbonne » and at the rupture of the french revolution in May 68 she moved to Rome with the young student leader named Daniel Cohen Bendit and famed Filmmaker Jean Luc Godard to work on films. During these five years in Rome she co-directed two films with avant-garde Director Marc’O, « Tamaout « and « Elettra ».
Upon her return to Paris in 1973 , she produced a series of photo essays for Zoom magazine on the movie sets of Fellini’s Casanova and Bertolucci’s Novecento. She discovered fashion photography after winning first prize at a photography contest. With the exception of a commission from Time Magazine to cover the Portuguese Revolution, the body of her work has focused on portraits.
She photographed the up and coming generation of actresses and actors such as Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Isabelle Adjani, Fanny Ardant among others. She perfected her delicate signature black and white style and slowly became a prominent figure in her field.
In 1979, Sonia Rykiel hired Dominique Issermann to collaborate with her on advertising campaigns, spurring a relationship that spanned a period of more than 10 years. She began contributing to international fashion magazines such as American Vogue and its international editions, Elle, The NYT Magazine and many other renowned titles.
Amongst her most famous images: portraits of Marguerite Duras, Balthus, Simone Signoret, Jeanne Moreau, Serge Gainsbourg, Isabelle Huppert, Monica Belluci, Keira Knightley and all the iconic models of the time: ChristyTurlington, Eva Herzigova, Isabella Rosselini, Carla Bruni, Laetitia Casta, Gisèle Bunchen…
Her work continues to flow naturally between portraiture, fashion and advertising blurring the divide between them. She has created iconic advertising campaigns for major brands worldwide, including several decades-long collaborations with Chanel, as well as ads for Christian Dior, Lancôme, Nina Ricci, Yves Saint Laurent and Hermès.
Along the way she also applies her distinctive style onto moving images for which she still has a prominent taste, directing several music videos for Leonard Cohen, notably « Dance me » & « Manhattan » – and shooting TV commercials for many of her clients, including the memorable « Eau Sauvage » and « Dune » for Christian Dior and the Victoria’s Secret legendary commercial featuring Bob Dylan. Her recent music collaborations also include work with Nick Cave.
Dominique has published several books – one of which « Laetitia Casta » achieves considerable success – and exhibits her work around the world with major retrospectives at the Rencontres Internationales de Arles and at the Paris Maison Européenne de la Photo, and recently at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport where 80 of her most famous pictures were exhibited on 400 digital advertising panels throughout all terminals.
Her unique style has been praised by many, Dominique Issermann invents, in the black studio, a white light that seems to glow from under the skin of the characters and that the schools of photography teaches under the name of « Light Issermann ».
Amongst the many accolades she has received for her work, Dominique Issermann is the first woman to receive the equivalent of an Oscar for her fashion photography at the 1987 French Fashion Awards. In January 2007, she was promoted to the rank of Officer of France’s Order of Arts and Letter and in March 2012, she was named to the National Order of Merit.