Title: A Love Made Out of Nothing, Zohara's Journey

Photographer: Brassai
Author: Barbara Honigmann
Publisher: David R. Godine
Designer: Lucinda Hitchcock


Image Title: Au coin de la Rue de la Renie (detail) 1930-1931
Photo Genre: Documentary
Book Genre: Stories

A woman waiting on a dimly lit streetcorner, legs silhouetted in darkness, is one of the clichés of film noir and mystery novels. Brassai may have been thinking more in documentary than cinematic terms when he photographed in the red-light district of nocturnal 1930's Paris, but his pictures resonated with other artists and writers of his era, and eventually became part of the lingua franca of filmmakers like Orson Welles, Otto Preminger and Billy Wilder.

In John Grippando's 2001 thriller, Under Cover of Darkness ('Point of Interest', at right), Brassai's influence is clearly present, but whether or not the uncredited photographer had the Brassai image in mind when he made the cover picture, or even knew of Brassai at all, is another matter. In the 70 year span between the first photograph and the second, the purity and newness of Brassai's original vision has been watered-down and cross-pollenated as it spread through Western culture, until, finally, it becomes impossible to keep track of the long chain of influence.


To view John Grippando cover, click on 'Point of Interest' at right.


It is known that Marcel Carné and the legendary set and lighting designer Alexandre Trauner studied Brassai's 'Paris de Nuit' photographs in order to obtain authenticity for the sets of Carné's 1938 film 'Le Quai des Brumes.'

Best wishes, Stuart Alexander

Very good, thank you

Very good, thank you Stuart!