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Brassai : Paris By Night Hardcover – May 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Bulfinch; 1ST edition (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821227386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821227381
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 10.6 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,871,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

One of the most important and influential photographers of the twentieth century, Brassai (1899-1984) moved to Paris from Hungary in 1924. He is best known for chronicling the city in the 1930s and for his portraits of artists such as Picasso and Matisse, and writers including Henry Miller. His fifty-year artistic career also encompassed drawing, sculpture, writing, and filmmaking.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Thor Simon on December 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book was conceived and executed around a specific printing process, heliogravure. The original 1933 edition, if you could find it, which would be quite a feat, would look very much like the Pantheon edition published about a decade ago, and have many of the features of the current edition that some reviewers find objectionable: matte paper, black borders, strange tonality when compared to traditionally printed work. That's why the Pantheon edition, which some of the leading figures in modern printing and photography worked on, was such a landmark, and why the cheaply printed editions between the original and that one were junk -- and gave people a very serious misapprehension of how Brassai wanted his work to look.
Unfortunately, an attempt to reproduce the characteristic look of heliogravure using a more conventional printing process is a pretty tall order. If you don't like the way this edition looks, and you very well may not, see if you can find a library that has a copy of the Pantheon edition and compare them. You'll be amazed that the aspects of this edition's printing that you found objectionable actually make _that_ edition beautiful and unique.
It is a shame that Amazon does not even list the Pantheon edition so that it cannot be searched for as a used book -- and that the current publisher deceptively printed an edition that looks superficially like heliogravure but is not.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By ChiDesign on September 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It is possible that the latest edition has failed to explain why the format for the images is appropriate. I have the 1987 Pantheon edition. The new edition looks like a fairly exact copy of my 1987 copy by Pantheon. That book takes as its model the 1933 first edition. The images are matte because the original and the Pantheon are heliogravure prints, a matte process. (It is also likely that Brassai's original prints lack the hi-gloss sheen common to modern magazine printing and plastic-coated photographic paper. I have nothing but pity for those who cannot appreciate such a process and yearn for something like today's glossy magazines.) The quarter-inch gloss frame arond the images is a feature of the Panthon edition, as well (and the '33?). This new book looks (on superficial viewing) like a faithful effort on the part of the publisher. Now- someone offer an A to B comparrison, please.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
One only has to compare the nicely reproduced dust jacket photo to the print of it in the book to see the amount of detail that is lost in the rest of these images. Even the thumbails in the back next to the writeups show more detail than the muddied out larger vesions in the book. Brassai's images are so great that even muddied up like this they are worth looking at, but what a shame the publisher didn't do better. Shame, shame, shame.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Peter Vinten on February 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is very important. Paris By Night by Brassai is a book that is central in the history of photograhy.It has been a great inspiration for many photograhers (and others).
It is a shame, that this edition is very badly printed (loss of detail).
I am sorry to say, that therefore the book is too exspensive.
I bought the book anyway. Why?
Because I wanted to have it on my shell. To study it. And because it reminds me of the first time, twenty years ago, when I saw some of the pictures from Paris By Night, and found that photograpy could be a great art.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. Tom TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Little, Brown and Company needs to do something about their quality control. This is the second book I have obtained that is published by them and has had a problem. My copy of this book had a tear near the binding, even though it was received brand new in the sealed wrap. Another Little, Brown and Company title I purchased brand new, '2 Times Into' by Michael Stipe, began falling apart after only one reading!
The content of this book is great. It's a dark book as it should be, for it depicts the night. The photographs urge you to want to look deeper. In viewing these photographs, I long to hear the mysterious stories behind them, and the conditions under which they were taken.
Modern day high speed film did not exist back in the '30s, so I assume long exposures were used for many of the shots. Yet most images evoke a real slice of nightlife feel to them, rather than anything contrived or artificially set up. Each photograph stands on it's own, and yet the entire compilation represented here equals more than the sum of it's parts.
There are only 60 some images represented here and the book is too expensive, but the presentation is appropriate to the subject matter and the book dimensions are suitable for good study.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tony Spadaro on May 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I've never seen an earlier edition of this book so I don't know how they were printed. This new edition definately has a couple problems. The photos are reproduced on matte paper so they don't have the sharp detail of other Brassai books. The borders are a quarter inch of jet black while the pages are matte black to the edges. This is not the best way to set off the photographs. Many of them seem to get lost in the dark, and the ink has a strong unpleasant smell. This is however still an amazing book, and will remain in my collection. It is worth the work it takes to study the pictures. My reservations about the book itself certainly do not carry over to the photos. Brassai may have been the first photographer to fully understand the night, and he has taught us all to "see" in the dark.
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