Brassaï (photographed by)
Paul Morand (text by)
Edition Arts et Métiers Graphiques; Paris, France
[xiii], 60 plates
Paris de Nuit (1932) is an artist’s book by Paul Morand and Brassaï. Brassaï was born in 1899, grew up in Hungary and was an abstract painter who became a journalist and, later, a photographer under the influence of Eugène Atget and André Kertész. Brassaï was inspired to become a photographer by his desire to translate all things that enchanted him in a nocturnal Paris. Paris de Nuit (1932) begins and ends by taking the viewer through a performance where architecture and street lights act as sets and an array of Parisians are the players. Brassaï used a 6×9cm Voigtländer Bergheil plate camera to create dreamlike images of the River Seine and views of Notre Dame. For Brassaï’s real life actors, he used a brighter flash bulb to create side lit portraits of prostitutes and street gangs to create the dramatic effect. Morand’s opening sentence is: “La nuit n’est pas le négatif du jour” which means that night is not the negative of day, it is something else.
For Brassaï the Parisian night life revealed another facet of the city and, more importantly, another world. Paris de Nuit is not just a documentation of a lost and dangerous way of life, but also dignifies who or what is documented. The bookseller’s description states: “One of the masterpieces of twentieth-century photographic literature. Paris de Nuit perfectly captures the feeling of Paris during the era of the Depression with darkened gardens, deserted squares, ladies of the evening and smoke-filled bars and cafés. This evocative book is now very difficult to find in collectible condition”.
Paris de Nuit. Available on: http://www.photohistories.com/photo-books/13/paris-de-nuit