31 Dec 2012

The photography of Joseph Breitenbach

Until recently, and a post a few weeks ago seen on the blog of a friend, (see here for the page in question), I had never heard of the photographer Josef Breitenbach (self-portrait above). But then I am far from being an expert in the history of photography, although I appreciate this media enormously.  Breitenbach was born in Munich in 1896 and died in New York in 1984. He worked first in his native Germany (see photo below from 1933),  

before fleeing the Nazis (he was not only Jewish, but also a political radical involved with libertarian left-wing movements of the time) to live and work in Paris, which he also had to leave later on account of the aforementioned dangerous lunatics, and finally settling, like so many others, in the USA (and, by the way, thank you America, whatever one's misgivings may be about some aspects of this country where large numbers of adults consider that the best way to make the place safer is to give everyone a gun!). 

from Breitenbach's Montparnasse period

His work covered a wide range of subjects: portrait, including some famous shots of James Joyce, Berthold Brecht, the boxer Joe Louis, or the singer Sarah Vaughan, but also reportages, surrealistic and experimental images, and the human body, both male and female. He has had many exhibitions since his death, and I, for one, would very much lile to see one at some time. 

 Sarah Vaughan

James Joyce

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