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Henri Cartier-Bresson - Girl in Crowd Wearing Pearls, Velodrome d'Hiver
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Girl in Crowd Wearing Pearls, Velodrome d'Hiver
$8,500
Henri Cartier-Bresson - Marseilles, France
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Marseilles, France
$12,000
Sale
$8,400
Henri Cartier-Bresson - Men Admiring Lingerie Display, Brussels World Fair
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Men Admiring Lingerie Display, Brussels World Fair
$8,500
Henri Cartier-Bresson - Pont Neuf, Paris
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Pont Neuf, Paris
$8,000
Henri Cartier-Bresson - Rome, Italy (Children Playing Cowboys with Guns)
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Rome, Italy (Children Playing Cowboys with Guns)
$6,000
Sale
$4,200
Henri Cartier-Bresson - Schoolchildren Looking from the Top of Notre-Dame Cathedral at the Seine River, Paris
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Schoolchildren Looking from the Top of Notre-Dame Cathedral at the Seine River, Paris
P.O.R.
Henri Cartier-Bresson - Two Factory Workers, Georgia, U.S.S.R.
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Two Factory Workers, Georgia, U.S.S.R.
$8,500
Henri Cartier-Bresson - Woman Shopping with Children, Lourdes
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Woman Shopping with Children, Lourdes
$8,000
Henri Cartier-Bresson - Women in Traditional Dress of Brittany (Bretagne)
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Women in Traditional Dress of Brittany (Bretagne)
P.O.R.
Maurice Georges Chanu - Les Enfants qui s'aiment... (Children who Love...)
Maurice Georges Chanu
Les Enfants qui s'aiment... (Children who Love...)
$2,000
Sale
$1,400
Alexis Delcroix - Les Jeunes Pecheuses (Young Fisherwomen)
Alexis Delcroix
Les Jeunes Pecheuses (Young Fisherwomen)
$2,000
Sale
$1,400
Robert Doisneau - House of Cardboard
Robert Doisneau
House of Cardboard
$900
Sale
$630
By Matt Damsker

One can argue that the rich tradition of street photography is mainly an outgrowth of modernism, best exemplified by the groundbreaking photojournalism of Cartier-Bresson in Europe and the unsentimental noir of Weegee in America. But that would discount the many images of the everyday recorded by photography's early pioneers, which established the medium's capacity for social realism and expressive reflections of urban life and architecture.

Thus, these European exemplars of street photography are alive to the medium's long history of cultural exploration and colorful depiction, and find their perfect forms in the energies and attitudes of the city. Indeed, the Paris of Brassai, Boubat and Doisneau––with its Les Halles flower sellers, Metro beggars, dancing girls, small boys carrying baguettes, or the prostitutes of Pigalle--is unmistakeably ingrained in these artfully crafted black-and-whites, just as the post-war liberations and Soviet gray of Eastern European cities seems encoded in the scampering children, hunched old women and rain-slicked streets captured by Stanko Abadzik, Jan Bartusek and others.

There's no question that the notion of street photography--bred largely from the decisive-moment approach typified by Cartier-Bresson, who is also represented here--is steeped in a black-and-white, documentarian aesthetic, and even 21st-century street photographs are prone to that classic style. Notable exceptions are the experimental color work of Vladimir Birgus, whose urban-dwellers (and tourists) are often glimpsed in some relation to the alienating mass of modern architecture that can render any city anonymous.

Vladimir Birgus--Berlin
Vladimir Birgus--Berlin

In the main, though, an atmosphere of cinematic noir dominates these photos, especially in the night shots of London, Paris or Rome--carefully composed renderings of young lovers, lonely souls, urchins or the fleeting motion of bicyclists in the mist and streetlamp glare. Such gifted photographers as Sabine Weiss, Bert Hardy and Jurgen Schadeberg round out this gallery of street seers, reminding us that the drama and surprise of this genre lie in the way it delivers an infinite variety of simple moments, illuminating life as it is lived in the archetypal corners of the Old World.

Street Photography Part I: Europe
About This Exhibit
Image List

Exhibited and Sold By
Contemporary Works / Vintage Works, Ltd.

258 Inverness Circle
Chalfont, Pennsylvania   18914   USA

Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith

Email info@vintageworks.net

Phone +1-215-822-5662

Call for an Appointment

 

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