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The piercing eye of Brassaï: the stunning work of a master French photographer

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Also, unlike Cartier-Bresson he happily employed auxiliary lighting. For interior photographs like his café shots, he worked with an assistant who prepared a flash powder gun and a reflecting screen, while Brassaï chatted up and posed his subjects. The exploding flash powder produced a softer light than flashbulbs, giving the pictures their distinctive lighting. However, these powder explosions were so bright and loud that Picasso nicknamed Brassaï "the Terrorist."

Brassaï was never the distant observer Cartier-Bresson was. Not only were his subjects co-conspirators in the photos, they were his acquaintances. Brassaï wants us to like them: we are among friends. We are guests at the table.

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