Street Photography Greats. Brassai

Brassai the photographer poses for a photo

Brassaï or Gyula Halász (9 September 1899 – 8 July 1984)

Hungarian born Brassai was a multitalented artist whose photography focussed on the seedy side of Paris in the thirties, and night time shots using the artificial light created by street lamps and cars. He was friendly with Henry Miller, Picasso and others, but did not seem influenced by them.


Equipment and Style

He used a Voigtlander 6.5 x 9cm camera with a Heliar f/4.5 lens. He had an assistant hold a flash for outdoor photography and used the Tripod of the day. In many ways he was more like a painter of a scene then a photographer. More of a Monet then a Bresson.



Picasso gave him the nickname ‘The Terrorist’ because of the loud bang which could be heard every time he used his flash.



Camera: Voigtlander 6.5 x 9cm camera with a Heliar f/4.5 lens.

Where he worked: Paris

Strengths: No one took photos in fog and rain like him, he was very capable of capturing a shot in one attempt.

Weaknesses: Some shots he processed and showed are blurry, this was because of his disinterest in taking enough shots of any particular scene.


Quote: “Night does not show things, it suggests them. It disturbes and surprises us with its strangeness. It liberates forces within us which are dominated by our reason during the daytime.”



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