Tag Archives: brassai

Brassai and the photography of graffiti

Brassai was a pioneer of photography – he was one of the first to master photography at night – scaling Notre Dame to take iconic images that required huge exposures. Brassai’s interest in graffiti started in the 1930’s – he began to capture these crude forms of ‘outsider art’ daubed to walls, toilet cubicles and public buildings. When you put these photographs directly alongside the birth of surrealism that was forming in Paris within Brassai’s group of friends and peers its easy to see why they continue to be such captivating photographs.

Brassai graffiti

Brassai graffiti

Brassai graffiti

Brassai graffiti

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Parisian graffiti, theatre and Brassai

Brassai (1899-1984) is one of the great figures of twentieth-century photography. Born in Brasso, Hungary, he studied at the academies of Budapest before moving to Paris in 1924. Initially interested in painting, he turned to photography in the early thirties at the suggestion of fellow Hungarian André Kertész. He published his first book, Paris by Night, in 1933, which granted him recognition as a peerless chronicler of the city. At this time Brassai also became interested in graffiti and shared his discoveries with the Surrealist circles he frequented. 

Brassai became interested in the marginal art form of graffiti in the 1930s, seeing it as a form of outsider art that could open the door to new forms of artistic expression. His atmospheric photographs capture the essence of this unfettered creation. Stark contrasts of black and white alternate with softer shades of grey that meld into one another, smoothing the harsh gouges typical of graffiti. 

Brassai Secret Paris 

Brassai 'In the wings at the Folies-Bergere'

'In the wings at the Folies-Bergere'

Brassai Graffiti

Brassai Graffiti

Brassai Graffiti

Tattooed trees and living graffiti

Henry loves Iris

Henry loves Iris - Hampstead Heath

Trunk designs
Trunk designs

 

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Tattooed trunks

Tattooed trunks

I’m going to let the photos do the talking here for once!

I think they are fascinating but let me know what you think.