Among the treasures I collected over the years is a dozen books on photography.  One of them is dated 1946 and is a report of the British free-lance photographer Allan Cash.  He traveled the world and was a war reporter in the Middle East with an eye for the picturesque.  Though his war pictures are not immortal, sometimes the shades of grey and white catch the eerie atmosphere. 

Another dear book contains portraits made by the french photographer Adolphe Braun (1811-1877) in the early years of photography.  The collection of aristocrats he eternalized is an amazing gallery, showing that the middle ages lasted till very recently.  Nobody is laughing on these portraits and many a face seems to have escaped from a painting by the fantastic Hieronymus Bosch.  

Then I have a collection of naughty books from the fifties.  The photography of the naked female was highly sculptural.  Black and white led to various explorations of all shades of grey.  The body was approached for it's sheer sensuality or for it's potential to be almost as abstract as a pebble.


Maybe my most surprising book is one on night photography, published in 1937 in what was then Nazi Germany.  Strange enough it is published in french.  The cover shows the Empire State Building in New York by night.  Inside there's pictures of fireworks and theatre plays. 

There is also a series of six amazing amateur pictures of 'flying' acrobats in a circus.  All the evocative power of black and white is concentrated in these marvellous shots.

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56-60, M
Mar 4, 2010