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Brassaï

Brassaï

1973

Ansel Adams

(American, 1902-1984)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 34.9 x 26.1 cm (13 3/4 x 10 1/4 in.); Matted: 55.9 x 45.7 cm (22 x 18 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1974.92

Description

Widely recognized as a master photographer of the natural landscape, Adams practiced unmanipulated, "straight" photography, incorporating a powerful sense of light, broad tonal range, and accuracy of detail and texture in all his work. This close-up portrait of his long-time friend, the French photographer Brassäi (1899-1984), clearly illustrates those traits with highlights on the face and hat, numerous white, gray, and black tones, and detailed texture of the skin, eyebrows, and hat. Brassäi was often referred to as "The Eye of Paris" due to his numerous nighttime photographs that disclosed the pulse of the city. Rejecting the use of "expressiveness" in his portraits, Adams once wrote, "The expression-many possible expressions-are implied." However, by capturing his sitter's penetrating eyes and dispassionate, quizzical look, Adams aptly conveyed Brassäi's role as a keen observer.

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