► The Paris Suburbs
by Blaise Cendrars
Photographs by Robert Doisneau
Denoël, 240 p., €49
Ici, “there is no illusion, no exotic intoxication, no literary chicanery possible on the harmonious emanations of God or on the great paintings of nature; here, in a word: it is misery. » Almost a classic, this Paris suburbs is admirable. The photos, taken between 1947 and 1949 by a 35-year-old Robert Doisneau, illustrate working-class, laborious, post-war France. Leprous walls and lousy children, but also women and men at work, in shared gardens…
In contrast, Blaise Cendrars, a traveler at heart, travels through the suburbs and what he sees of deprivation questions his very literature: “The down-to-earth photos of Robert Doisneau, who never blinks, call me to order. you must not exaggerate. Reality is enough. »
♦ Lee Miller. Photographs
Delpire & Co, 144 p., 37 €
It therefore only took a few years for Lee Miller to leave his mark as an artist on the 20th century. Landing in Paris in 1929, going from her status as a model to that of a photographer, she rubbed shoulders with Man Ray, who was madly in love with her, Éluard and Picasso before fleeing to Egypt with a billionaire. Photography always accompanies him, from surrealist explorations to desert landscapes and fashion.
The coming war marked her return to Europe, making her a talented reporter, among the first to photograph the death camps, a terrible experience after which her activity declined. With this work, her son, Antony Penrose, has chosen to share this major heritage by retracing his mother’s career as a photographer.
Photographs by Christophe Jacrot
Oak, 70 p., €60
To find “a winter… which resembles winter”, the Frenchman Christophe Jacrot traveled to the white and dark expanses of Iceland. The photographer and director has been working on bad weather for years. Accustomed to metropolises, he distills with Snjor – “snow” – a singular poetry, where we (re)discover a grandiose nature and yet “less wild than it seems”.
Houses, roads, churches, silhouettes and traffic lights are worked in color, the focus of his grandiose and contemplative paintings, on the border of abstraction. Images full of lines and perspectives, of perfect composition to which the large format pays homage – 175 × 200 mm.
♦ Saul Leiter. Retrospective 1923-2013
Textual, 352 p., €69
After the fantastic exhibition devoted to Saul Leiter at the Rencontres d’Arles, an impressive book returns, for the centenary of his birth, to the multiple facets of his production. This is an opportunity to rediscover the images of New York whose colorful notes made its late fame. We appreciate seeing his fashion photographs there, a more professional and remunerative field, in which his sensitivity was also expressed.
No wonder this Bonnard lover dreamed of becoming a painter when we discovered his little treasures of abstraction which are his gouaches and watercolors. The last part, dedicated to the intimate, is revealed in black and white and reveals, through portraits and nudes, the beauty of the women loved. Three hundred photographs and as many reasons to marvel once again at the immense talent of Saul Leiter.
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