I bought this photography book a few years ago when I was living in Paris, in the 1st arrondissement. I would just walk around the neighborhood and soak up the atmosphere. Paris is filled with book stores, so I would regularly go in and browse their photography collections. As I moved to London in 2010, I took this little piece of Paris with me.
Brassai (Gyula Halász) was a Hungarian photographer, sculptor, writer and filmmaker. He moved to Paris in 1924 and became a French citizen in 1949.
His depictions of Paris are beautiful and powerful, especially the mystical pictures of ‘Brassaï Paris’. He is famous for being part of the Humanist Photography movement, along with Henri Cartier Bresson, Willy Ronis, Robert Doisneau, among others, which developed after WWII.
Here are some of my favourites from the book, enjoy!
PARIS BY NIGHT
Morris Column, 1933
Staircase in the rue Rollin (Nestlé poster), 1934-35
Lighting the lamps, 1932-33
Two lovers on a public bench and a tramp, Boulevard St Jacques, Paris 14e, 1932
Lovers beneath a streetlight, 1932
Lovers in a small café, Paris 13e, 1932
Couple at the “Four Seasons” Dance Hall, Rue de Lappe, Paris 11e, 1932
Môme Bijou at the “Bar de la Lune”, Montmartre, 1932
The Duchess of Zoë at the Homosexuals’ Ball at “Magic City”, 1932
Streetwalker, Paris 13e, 1932
At Suzy’s, Paris 6e, 1931-32
Getting dressed, Rue Quincampoix, Paris 4e, 1932
Hotels used by prostitutes in the rue Quincampoix, Paris 4e, 1932
The kiss, 1935-37
Professor Louis Dimier, Member of the Institute, on the bank of the Seine, 1931-32
Notre-Dame de Paris (devil and pigeon), Paris 1er, undated
The Dream – Shop window on the Boulevards, 1934
ARTISTS OF MY LIFE
Picasso, Paris 6e, 1939
Jean-Paul Sartre at the Café de Flore, Paris 6e, 1944
Dali and Gala at the Villa Seurat, Paris 14e, 1932
Henry Miller standing in the doorway wearing a hat, 1931-32
I hope you enjoyed the travel back in time!
Brassaï Paris, TASCHEN