For more than six decades, Hungarian-born photojournalist Paul Almasy documented events and personalities in every corner of the globe taking more than 120,000 photographs. But Paris has always had a special place in his heart. Just like many of his fellow photographers like Brassaï, Lucien Hervé, and Henri Bresson, Almasy was also inspired by the beauty of the City of Light and eventually made it his home-base in 1938.
After the end of World War II, Paris began once again to embrace culture and its joie de vivre spirit. People flocked to the cafes, fashion designers reinvigorated haute couture, La Nouvelle Vague transformed French cinema and art, and writers and philosophers made Saint-Germain-des-Prés their playground.
Now thanks to Almasy, who chronicled it all with a camera in hand, we can take a walk down memory lane and witness the city’s blossoming culture during the 1950s and 1960s.
The new book, Paris by Paul Almasy, is a black and white portrait of a bustling city and its people with all their energy, vibrancy, and boldness. The familiar faces of artists like Yves Saint Laurent, Colette, and Serge Gainsbourg peek from the pages of the book. But Almasy wasn’t just interested in celebrities and their hangout spots in the well-off arrondissements of Paris. He also ventured off to the suburbs where immigrants from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunis were building new lives for their families.
Much like Paris itself, Almasy’s photographs from that time are never static or bland. Instead, they are full of romanticism, joy, and movement—a female taxi driver lighting a cigarette in her car, a young couple caught in a passionate kiss, a policeman talking to a driver. The book truly is a celebration of the timeless spirit of the French capital and the eternal lust for life and its pleasures, small or big, of its residents.
Paris by Paul Almasy, is published by teNeues and is available for pre-order here.