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Photovision Magazine

Book Reviews

Paul Almasy—Paris
Klaus Kleinschmidt & Axel Schmidt
Prestel, $39.95
ISBN 3-7913-2597-3

Review by Gregory W. Blank
From Vol. 2 No. 5

The work of Paul Almasy in the new book about his career, Paris, is a travel back in time. The stunning images in this book represent Paris through the eyes of a truly great photographer who ardently opposed the posed or contrived approach to photojournalism, which some of his contemporaries practiced. Born in 1906 Paul Almasy has traveled to every country except Mongolia. In his photojournalism career Paul produced in excess of 120,000 images. From that great stored archive at the AKG in Germany, these Paris images are pulled.

The collection represented in Paris, is an accounting of social conditions in that city from the 1930s through the 1960s. Every station in life is documented in and throughout this chronicle of Paris life. In his career Paul Almasy met with and photographed notable world leaders, like Eisenhower, de Gaulle, and Mussolini.

Mr. Almasy’s images can be blunt and matter of fact. Bluntness and matter of fact can be great, and it is the somewhat removed observer vantage point Paul’s work takes which eliminates the social station among his subjects. It is this journalistic style which Paul utilized so well which reveals the disdain, coy, and genuine as well as intense serious side in each subject.

Readers, book collectors and photographers will enjoy this book as it is a great historical accounting of the home country of Paul Almasy. The 101 duo-tone images are printed perfectly and the warm image tonality comes out to even the most casual of viewers.

The images in Paris were not formally composed but rather were expressions of instantaneous recognition of the desired outcome. To say the least, Paul’s intuition was razor sharp and the results are very much art. GWB