Yevonde was born into a well-to-do family in January,
1893. Her father, a manufacturer of printing inks, was
loving and kind, and took delight in initiating his
daughter into the fascinating world of colour. As she
grew up, she developed a very strong independent streak,
and a determination to make her own way in the world.
She had no intention of living out her young days in
a succession of dances and theatre parties until a suitable
husband could be found for her.
still in her 'teens, she discovered the Suffragette
Movement and devoted much of her spare time to promoting
its aims. She was to remain a staunch supporter of women's
rights throughout her life, and they became a strong
motivating force in her career, driving her later on
to explore many aspects of women's sexuality and their
role in society in her work.
Her choice of profession was purely a matter of chance.
She answered an advertisement for an assistant to a
well - known photographer and was interviewed for the
job, but although she did not take it on account of
the amount of travel involved in getting to and from
work, she now knew exactly what she wanted to do with
the rest of her life. She apprenticed herself to Lallie
Charles, the leading society portrait photographer of
the day, from whom she learned the rudiments of her
chosen profession, and how to run a studio. In 1914,
before her apprenticeship was even completed, she set
up her own studio with money provided by her ever-indulgent
father and, using one of her own Christian names, announced
that 'Madame Yevonde - Portrait Photographer' was open
for business. She was just 21 years old.