Master Of Photography: Brassai

Gyula Halasz, better known by his pseudonym Brassai (derived from “de brasso”, his place of birth located now in Romania) was self educated in photography. He went to Paris in 1924 to become a journalist. He loved the city of Paris and needed to learn French. He learnt French by reading many French books. During this time he also become friends with many intellectuals and artist, many of whom would continue on to become some of the worlds most prominent artistic figures such as Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse to name a few. During these years he would spend quite a bit of time wandering the streets of Paris taking pictures of the night scene. He would take pictures of both people and deserted streets and squares.

The photographs he took during this period were published in his world famous book “Paris de Nuit”. Besides the almost surreal backdrops he used in his photography (thanks in great part to the breathtaking architecture of Paris), his work was also celebrated due to its technical achievements and breakthroughs. As you will soon find out in later lessons nighttime photography is no easy task. It poses certain technical challenges that many photographers seek to avoid. Many art fanatics and passive art spectators admire Brassai’s work because of many of its amusing characters.

Brassai was fascinated with how society amused itself at night time. He loved to photograph the interesting characters that came out at night and the scenes that nighttime seems to create.

However, he was also interested in Paris high society spending much of his efforts photographing ballets, portraits of intellectuals and operas. The result is an eclectic portfolio of some of society’s most marginalized characters to some of society’s wealthiest individuals.

Below are a handful of Brassai’s works of photographic art. While these photographs alone do not encapsulate the range of skill that Brassai possessed, they are meant to show you a specific style of photography and introduce to you the specific interest of this photographer.

Video by The Art Of Photography

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