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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, September 8, 2013
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This review is from: Brassaï: Paris Nocturne (Hardcover)
This is an English translation of a collection previously released in French as "Brassaï: Le flâneur nocturne", and according to the commentary inside, it reproduces most of the photographs from Brassaï's "Paris After Dark" and "The Secret Paris of the 30's". The photographs which are missing are (according to the authors of the explanatory essays here) those of opium dens, as the photographer specifically stated he did not want these reprinted after his death.

Even with those omissions this is an evocative (and at times disturbing) work. I didn't know anything about Brassaï when I bought this book, but I had seen it recommended by another photographer I enjoy, Michael Penn. Brassaï spent most of the nights of the early 1930s prowling the streets of Paris, photographing all night and sleeping all day. His intent was to capture a sense of the place while making beautiful art, and he succeeds admirably. These are amazing photos, and not just in a "wow, it's amazing they could do that in 1934" sense, but in an absolute sense. It is an evocative snapshot of Depression-era Europe. We see workers emptying cesspools, tramps sleeping in alleys, dancers preparing to go on stage, and prostitutes waiting provocatively on lonely corners. All the while, he manages to capture the beauty and tragedy in the scene. I will enjoy these photos for some time to come, and as an amateur photographer, I will learn from them as well.

The book itself is excellent quality, printed on thick paper, and with excellent reproduction of the images. While most of the 214 plates are full-page or almost full page 8x10s, there are about 90 plates which are smaller reproductions, with two or three to a page. The book is divided in three sections, one for each of the books previously published, and now (mostly) republished here, and the pictures not included in his more famous works. This third section has almost no photographs of people, but does have some very impressive (especially for 1934) shots of lightning and fireworks. On the whole though I think the photos in the first two sections are much stronger. If you already own the first two books, this may not be worth the purchase, but since I haven't seen the prior ones, I can't comment on differences in printing quality. This is an extremely well done book, and even these less memorable images are quite good.

Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very best book of Brassai's photos, November 1, 2013
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A voracious reader (New York, NY, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brassaï: Paris Nocturne (Hardcover)
I own several other books of Brassai's photos, but this one is my new favorite. Not only is the selection of photos terrific and not only are the photos printed on high-quality paper, but there's also some wonderful ephemera (such as newspaper photos) to round out the enjoyment of this lovely book.
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Brassaï: Paris Nocturne
Brassaï: Paris Nocturne by Quenten Bajac (Hardcover - September 9, 2013)
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