Léon Herschtritt is born in Paris in 1936. He received a classical education, followed by a short stunt at the Ecole Nationale de Photographie. Drafted in the army, he comes back with the making of a book « Les gosses d’Algérie » (« The boys from Algeria »). This news story earns him the prix Niepce 1960. He will then start his career as a reporter-photographer in the news rooms of « France-Observateur », « La vie catholique illustrée » and «Réalités ».
In 1962, he becomes a free lance reporter.
He works first for the American movie industry in « Le jour le plus long » and « Cleopatra ».
He then concentrates on political, social, and human subjects: « Noël in Berlin », « The strikes at Decazeville », « Italian peasants », « Old age ».
From a trip to Black Africa, he brings back en 1963 thousands of images, which will form the basis for the Photothèque of the Ministère de la Coopération and will be exhibited at the Musée de l’Homme, in Paris, before being shown in the rest of France and worldwide.
His photographies are exhibited in the newspapers and magazines of more than fifty countries, and are distributed by Camera Press of London, whose correspondent he is in Paris.
In 1966, he is honored with the Gens d’images award for his book « Au hasard des femmes » and the publishing of a book on prostitution, « La célébration des putains ».
In September 1966, a French TV show, « Chambre noire », hosted by A. Plecy and M. Tournier, devotes to him one of their programs.
In 1967, he participates to the show « Tendance de la jeune photographie française », at the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris.
In 1968, he works on an advertisement campaign for Olivetti in France, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium. He is part of the « Exposition mondiale de la photographie » organized by Karl Pawek and of the show « Paris Mai 68″ organized by the Club Photographique de Paris, the 30/40, of which, he is also a member of the directory. He also has a one man show at the FNAC in Paris.
In 1969 and 1970, in parallel to his activities as a reporter-photographer, he starts a career as a film maker. He authors, for the British television, a piece on the French presidential elections. He is also the co-director of two short commercial films on the 24 Hours of the Mans, and horse racing. He directs, with his wife, a short color documentary on the reunited Jerusalem, and also produces several other pieces.
In 1973, he produces for the French television a program on portrayal, «La tête de l’homme » (« The head of Man »).
He opens, with his wife Nicole, the first bistrot dedicated to photography in Paris: a meeting place which he livens up and where he organizes shows, every month, over a period of four years. In 1974, he edits a portfolio of 10 photographies on the thematic of the couple. Conference at Chalon-sur-Saône at the Europhot on the thematic of portrait. His photographies are still distributed worldwide by Camera Press in London.
In 1983, show in Vienne (France) also on the thematic of portrait. This show will travel through France.
From 1976 to 1993, he becomes an antiques dealer, specializing in collectible ancient photography and cameras.
Since the 1980′s he is an expert certified by the Union française des Experts (U F E).
In 1991 he opens at the Paul Bert (Saint Ouen) flea market the first galerie dedicated to photography.
From 1994 to 1996 private marchand.
In 1996, commissary of the show « Le PLM d’Edouard Baldus » in Vienne (Isère).
Editing of the book « Jamais deux fois le même regard » regarding the photographies of his private collection.
En 1998, he assists his son in the creation of the Galerie Laurent Herschtritt in the heart of Saint Germain des Près.
In November 2001 Laurent and he are the experts of the first auction sale of photojournalism at the Salle Drouot (photographies of Natchway, Henri Cartier Bresson, Capa, and Doisneau …).
In November 2002 second auction : « Le photojournalisme aux enchères » preceded by a show at the mansion of the comte Aguado, founding member of the SFP (currently the city hall of the 9° arrondissement of Paris) followed by an important sale of XIX century photographies (printings of Nadar).
In 2004 and 2005 he takes over from his son Laurent and directs with his wife the Galerie Nicole et Léon Herschtritt (shows: Paris nostalgia, The American photography, Master pieces of the XIX century….)
In 2006, he celebrates his 50 years in photography, and participates in a collective show in the fall at the Bibliothèque Nationale.
He prepares a personal show, and he is editing several books based on his photographic works « Paris des années 60 », « Portraits connus et inconnus », « Au hasard des femmes », « Noël à Berlin ».
In April 2012, edition of the book « Léon Herschtritt, photographies » , printed 300 copies and numbered.