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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Two If By Night

Unlike Ctein, who really does have just one name, Weegee (real name Arthur Fellig) actually had two. Brassai's real name was Gyula Halàz—he came from the town of Brasso, in Transylvania, from whence he adopted his nom de guerre. (I was just trying to keep things topical, without having to resort to Cher and Yanni and the rest of the usual suspects.)

One of Brassai's great strengths was as a photographer of the night, both figuratively (left, for instance) and literally. When I was younger, it was easy to find remainders of Pantheon's 1987 reprint of Brassai's great 1933 book Paris de Nuit, which, like the original, was printed in gorgeous heliogravure (you can still find a copy for under $50 if you look).

Adam Moore, One Way, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Which seems as good a way as any to seque to Andy Frazer's night photography blog. Andy describes it as a niche within a niche, but it's a rich subject, as many photographers (Michael Kenna is one who comes to mind) have learned. If the subject appeals to you, don't miss The Nocturnes Gallery either.

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON

9 Comments:

Blogger dyathink said...

Mike, many thanks for featuring night work and furnishing links. i shoot a lot at night and it's great to visit sites of like minds.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Rick Martin said...

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Rick Martin

5:27 AM  
Blogger Scott Kirkpatrick said...

Mike, what do you know about the 2001 reprinting of Brassai's Paris de Nuit by Bulfinch? It's available both new ($50) and used ($12-20) and in both French and English editions. It shows Gilberte Brassai (a daughter?) as author and Paul Morand as the writer of a preface. I recall the original had Morand as the author, and Brassai only was mentioned inside.

scott

7:46 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

Scott,
I don't think I've seen it. It's abviously the same book, but whether it's worth having would depend on the quality of the reproductions.

--Mike

7:52 AM  
Blogger Scott Kirkpatrick said...

A little Googling shows that Gilberte is Brassai's widow, and apparently quite a force in controlling his works, as putting her name on the cover suggests.

7:54 AM  
Blogger Scott Kirkpatrick said...

add to previous after-post:

Next I read some French sites which refer to the 2001 show at the Centre Pompidou, in which some 500+ of Brassai's photos were shown. The covers of the 2001 edition of Paris la Nuit and the 1932-86 version, called Paris de Nuit have different images, as well as different text. The news-peg for the stories that I found is that Gilberte has willed 43,000 negatives, contact sheets, and original prints to the Pompidou, but continues to "controle les droites morales" i.e. all aspects of how his works appear.

8:13 AM  
Blogger Mela said...

Mike, you mention that you can still find a 1987 Pantheon edition of "Paris de Nuit/Paris by Night"...do you have any recommendations of a good on-line source, or did you mean by looking in an "old-fashioned" used book store?

9:45 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

Mela,
I'd check abebooks.com. That's the best bet.

--Mike

10:00 PM  
Blogger Mela said...

Thanks for the quick response and advice, Mike!

11:05 PM  

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