Brassaï

Gyula Halász was a Hungarian photographer, sculptor, and filmmaker. He called himself Brassaï as this means “from Brassó”, which is the city in Hungary where he was born on 9 September 1899. He died in France on 8 July 1984. He arrived in Paris in 1924 and fell in love with the city. He is well-known for his photographs of the Parisian night life. After the publication of his first book “Paris by Night”, his friend and writer Henry Miller called him “the eye of Paris”.

“Oldest Police Station in Paris” – 1933

The content of this photo can be taken from the title “Oldest Police Station in Paris”. Police stations are associated with crime, cells and the “darker side of life” and with that in mind, it makes sense to take this photo at night -in the dark-, rather then by daylight. However, this photo does not evoke a sinister, but rather an intimate feeling, because of the light and shadow. The two men who are possibly policemen add to the photograph, as you may wonder what they are talking about. It also shows that at that moment in time the police station is in use. Without their presence it would still be a good photo, but less interesting.

“Open Gutter” – 1933

This photo depicts a scene that many people must have passed without noticing the beauty of the lines. Gutters are usually not associated with beauty, but Brassaï has made it so. He took it at a great angle, not showing much above the surface. His intent was to raise people’s awareness of the beauty that can be found in everyday life. He once said: “The purpose of art is to raise people to a higher level of awareness than they would otherwise attain on their own.” By looking at this photo you may start looking at the things around you in a different way.

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