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BRASSAI
[1899 – 1984] Hungarian–French photographer, sculptor, medalist, writer, and filmmaker
There are many photographs which are full of life but which are confusing and difficult to remember. It is the force of an image which matter. - Brassai - Amateur Photographer, June 18, 1969.

..the thing that is magnificent about photography is that it can produce images that incite emotion based on the subject matter alone. - Brassai

We should try, without creasing to tear ourselves constantly by leaving our subjects and even photography itself from time to time, in order that we may come back to them with reawakened zest, with the virginal eye. That is the most precious thing we can possess. - Brassai

The precise instant of creation is when you choose the subject. (meaning that the essential thing occurs at the moment when he, the photographer, meets the reality he wishes to capture. - Brassai

Photography in our time leaves us with a grave responsibility. While we are playing in our studios with broken flowerpots, oranges, nude studies and still lifes, one day we know that we will be brought to account: life is passing before our eyes without our ever having seen a thing. - Brassai

Do you know what Picasso said when he looked at my drawings in 1939? “You’re crazy, Brassai. You have a gold mine and you spend your time exploiting a salt mine!” The salt mine was – naturally – photography! - Brassai , Dialogue With Photography by Paul Hill , ISBN: 0948797665 , Page: 39
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I like living beings; I like life, but I like to capture it in such a way that the photo does not move. I don't really like the snapshot, the Leica with its 39 views, all of which distract attention. - Brassai

Chance is always there. We all use it. The difference is a poor photographer meets chance one out of a hundred times and a good photographer meets chance all the time. - Brassai

The purpose of art is to raise people to a higher level of awareness than they would otherwise attain on their own. - Brassai
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In the absence of a subject with which you are passionately involved, and without the excitement that drives you to grasp it and exhaust it, you may take some beautiful pictures, but not a photographic oeuvre. - Brassai

After twenty years you can begin to be sure of what camera will do. - Brassai - [cited in: Creative Camera May 1972, p. 148]
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To keep from going stale you must forget your professional outlook and rediscover the virginal eye of the amateur. - Brassai - lecture given before the Société Française de Photographie. , The picture history of photography: From the earliest beginnings to the present day by Peter Pollack , ISBN: 0500271011 , Page: 141
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To me photography must suggest, not insist or explain. - Brassai

In photography you can never express yourself directly, only through optics, the physical and chemical process. - Brassai

I have always refused to specialise. I've always done many different kinds of things: photos, drawings, sculpture, films, books ... In the end, it is hard to have many different talents, because each one wants to monopolise you ... All you can do is try to alternate between them, following your instincts … I'm not afraid that I might be wasting my energy ... I want to be free. - Brassai

l don't invent anything. I imagine everything ... most of the time, I have drawn my images from the daily life around me. I think that it is by capturing reality in the humblest, most sincere, most everyday way I can, that I can penetrate to the extraordinary. - Brassai

My images were surreal simply in the sense that my vision brought out the fantastic dimension of reality. My only aim was to express reality, for there is nothing more surreal than reality itself. If reality fails to fill us with wonder, it is because we have fallen into the habit of seeing it as ordinary. - Brassai

As a photographer, I never restricted myself to a particular subject. I photographed whatever happened to catch my attention: faces, street scenes, landscapes, or any one of the thousands of chance events of everyday life. Art and artists were a part of my own day-to-day life in Paris. - Brassai

I've always hated specialisation. That's why I've constantly changed the medium in which I express myself … That way I can breathe, I can see things anew. - Brassai - From the book: Brassai by Jean-Claude Gautrand

I need the subject to be as conscious as possible that he is taking part in an event ... in an artistic act. I need his active collaboration ... - Brassai - From the book: Brassai by Jean-Claude Gautrand

I've always felt that the formal structure of a photo, its composition, was just as important as the subject itself. ... You have to eliminate every superfluous element, you have to guide your own gaze with an iron will. - Brassai - From the book: Brassai by Jean-Claude Gautrand

My ambition has always been to show the everyday city as if we were discovering it for the first time. - Brassai - From the book: Brassai by Jean-Claude Gautrand

In any case, I always took people by surprise, for they never knew at what exact moment I was going to take the shot ... In addition, given the kind of equipment available at that time, I often needed artificial light: so I would have someone to help me who would be holding a magnesium flare. As a result, no one knew when I was going to press the shutter. - Brassai - From the book: Brassai by Jean-Claude Gautrand

If you take your inspiration from nature, you don't invent anything, because what you want to do is to interpret something. But still, everything passes through your imagination. What you produce at the end is very different from the reality you started with. - Brassai - From the book: Brassai by Jean-Claude Gautrand

Basically, my work has been one long reportage on human life. - Brassai - From the book: Brassai by Jean-Claude Gautrand

I wanted to paint. But life in Paris was so interesting, that I couldn't bear to lock myself away and get on with my artwork ... I was much more interested in everything which I saw at night. Those images haunted me... - Brassai - From the book: Brassai by Jean-Claude Gautrand

Only photography could provide the intensity and expressive power... - Brassai - From the book: Brassai by Jean-Claude Gautrand

There are two gifts which every man of images needs to be a true creator: a certain sensitivity to life, to living things, and at the same time, the art which will enable him to capture that life in a certain specific way. I'm not talking about a pure aesthetics... - Brassai - From the book: Brassai by Jean-Claude Gautrand

I invent nothing, but I imagine everything. - Brassai

A negative doesn’t mean anything for a photographer of my type. It’s the printing by its creator alone that matters. - Brassai - On his stipulation that none of his photographs be printed posthumously

My ambition was always to show aspects of daily life as if we were seeing them for the first time. - Brassai

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