Brassaï: Paris by Jean-Claude Gautrand

Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Review: Brassaï (or Gyula Halász) was a Hungarian photographer and artist in the early to mid-twentieth century, working mostly in Paris. He was part of the art scene there, and worked closely with the surrealists (even if he never considered himself to be one). I became acquainted with his work as a Photography student, but this was the first book I read that was entirely dedicated to him.

His photographic work is simply amazing. It is visually stunning, layered with possible interpretations. The historical interest is also considerable. Brassaï photographed everything, from people to landscapes, and  the images provide a fascinating glimpse into Parisian life a century ago.

The essay at the start of the book wasn’t as great as the images, unfortunately. Maybe there was something lost in translation (my copy is at the same time in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese) but the writing style was rather weak, with confusing sentences and disparate verb conjugations.

Still, well worth looking into, and a good introduction to the work of this wonderful photographer.


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