“Brassaï, pour l’amour de Paris” is the current free Hôtel de Ville exhibition until March 8, 2014. The exhibit is a Paris panorama from 1930 to 1950. The exhibition catalog is available in English and French. The free flyer at the entrance is available in Spanish, French and English. The best times to visit are at the open in time, lunch time and generally before 3 pm.
The exhibition opens with a contrast in photography and scenery. The photos from the late 1890s in sepia capture the clothing, transportation, new construction and people within the city. Brassaï’s black and whites hang above them and contrast life’s changes from thirty years earlier into the 1930s. It is mind boggling to see the reality and how much changed in a short period of time: constricted clothing, proper behavior, horse-drawn carriages, clean, new building to more comfortable clothing (or none), changed mores, engines, and black, sooty façades.
Born in 1899 in Brasso (Brasov), Transylvania, Gyulus Halasz moved to Paris in 1924, changed his name to Brassaï in 1929 and became a photographer. Classified as a surrealist, Brassaï started to turn the real into the strange, capture the mores of society, and immortalize Paris scenery using the street lights to cast the shadows and turn holes in walls and wall graffiti into three-dimensional scenes.