Tuesday, 17 July 2012

George Brassai

I'm currently reading 'Spy in the House of Love' By Anais Nin. I had been meaning to read Anais Nin's romantic novels for a while as I had recently completed devouring her book on philosophy entitlted 'Book of the future'. I stumbled upon the book whilst perousing my friend Kecilli's fabulous book collection and instantly became drawn to the book cover..



What mainly drew me to this photograph are the angles in particular. The way the photograph taken on an angle, subtly revealing a portion of mirror that hints to the man's expression otherwise unrevealed. The woman's head is angled upwards, her gaze is both coyly seducing yet powerfully assertive, it's almost as if she is 'looking down' on the man who is drawn into her alluring expression. There's no question as to why this image was chosen as the cover for the book, the photograph was taken in the 20s at a time when female empowerment flourished socially and politically and this essence of the power of women is particularly reflected in Nin's work.

Upon closer inspection, written in fine line at the back of the book cover was the name Brassai. Brassai was a hungarian born photographer, who later attained a french citizenship. He was part of the generation of prolific artists,writers and poets living in Paris in the 20s and his contemporaries comprised of Picasso, Salvador Dali, Henry Miller, Man Ray and Hemingway. Brassai had been living in Paris where he had been painting and drawing. In fact when he decided to adopt photography, Picasso famously discouraged Brassai and warned he was "giving up his gold mine of painting for a salt mine of photography"




Brassai was particularly inspired by the dazzling streets of Paris at night and organised a collection of photographs entitled Paris de Nuit. His collection of images taken in the early 30s perfectly encapsulate a period lost in time. Paris in the 30s with it's fascinating array of prostitutes, pimps, madams, transvestites and assorted 'cold-eye pleasure-seekers' all woven together to create an atmosphere of seamless beauty and hedonism.






Apparently,Brassai was unhappy with the results of his photographs depicting Paris. I suppose a city as spellbinding as Paris would be hard to encapsulate in mere images... 










thanks and thanks

12 comments:

  1. This is a GORGEOUS post, what a beautiful story told through pictures, they evok such a feeling and passion from their onlookers, I'm impressed!!

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  2. Love this post. I'm soooo obsessed with vintage photographs and photographers. Paris is so fascinating. I love the dark side of the glamorous and chic Parisians.

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  3. not i was just watching their perfomance on Kids choice awards,unfoutnetly haha :D
    loove ur blog :)

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  4. wow it looks amazing, i'd also love to read this, but unfortunaltelly i have no time -.-

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  5. I love the cover! I love his use of mirrors, it's pretty amazing.

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  6. Wow these images are fantastic! I'd heard of him before but only in reference to other artists I think, you mentioned Picasso, etc. I'm definitely going to look him up! Also, I'm curious to know if you like the book?

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  7. sounds like a good book!

    http://underthefluorescents.blogspot.com/

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  8. Love this! I got a Delta of Venus audiobook recently-- read by a low, breathy-voiced german lady... Its pretty steamy stuff ;) The backstory on these photos are fascinating, Im just so in love with the era. x

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  9. Brassai is a great match for Nin. Jealous of your lovely edition!

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  10. Adore these photographs!

    thoughtsfromanotherkook.blogspot.co.uk

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  11. These photos are inspiring, I'm surprised he wasn't happy with them? I guess you're right - Paris is a difficult mistress to capture. I think he did a pretty good job though!

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