Brassai and others

“What is fascinating about colour is that you are faced with this ordeal of making all the elements work together” William Eggleston in the British Journal of Photography (another excellent journal which is now available monthly on iPad and weekly on iPhone.)

Great article in which Eggleston quotes Henri Cartier-Bresson as his photographic hero but relates the story about when the two met in Paris and  Bresson said to Eggleston “you know, William, colour, it’s bullshit”. Eggleston was so disgusted he left Bresson and went and spent the rest of the evening with a particularly attractive French lady  – “most of them are”  to quote Eggleston!

Eggleston’s photos accompanying the article were very impressive but for me the best was the girl with red hair  Untitled, Biloxi, Mississippi 1974 in which red dominates.

Although the current assignment is on colour it is black and white photos which have caught my attention recently. I so enjoyed the Man Ray exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery that I have been looking at more of his photos and reading about life in Paris in the 20s and 30s. The photographer from that era that I very much like is Brassai. He produced some great photos of life in Paris at the time. He seems to have photographed many of the people I read about when researching Man Ray but so far I don’t see any references of the two together – but they must have known each other.  For me the best of the photos are not the ones of the “celebrities” but the photos of ordinary people in Paris. and particularly the ones of nocturnal life of Paris.

From the edition Photofile (1989) Brassai – Introduction by Roger Grenier


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