|Contextual notes: |
There was a movement of artists and intellectuals throughout Europe following the First World War and this led to a spread of ideas and photographic styles. André Kertész (Hungarian, 1894-1985) and Brassai (Hungarian, 1899-1984) moved to Paris and Bill Brandt (German, 1904-1983) moved to London. This is significant as they saw their adopted countries with the enquiring eyes of outsiders. They all took night photographs in the cities they had moved to and they seem to be amused observers rather than participants in the activities that take place. In 1933 Brassai's photographs were published in the book "Paris by Night" a project that Kertész had already turned down.
The 1928 photograph of Meudon by André Kertész is an extraordinary combination of activities, the train moving from right to left on the viaduct, the man with wrapped parcel crossing to the right, all happening seemingly at random. Hans-Michael Koetzle in his 2002 book "Photo Icons: The Story Behind the Pictures - Volume 2" (Koln: Taschen) argues that all is not as it would first appear and the person with the parcel could be the German artist Willi Baumeister. Was part of this street photograph staged as with "The Kiss" by Robert Doisneau or was it a fortuitous accident?