Offers the first detailed analysis of how the Surrealists utilised the tactics of documentary and how Surrealist ideas in turn influenced the development of documentary photography.
The author analyses how the Surrealists utilised the tactics of documentary and how Surrealist ideas in turn influenced the development of documentary photography. The re-emergence of Surrealist photography, has an emphasis on work made in the studio or the darkroom. This, however, is a study of what Louis Aragon called "surrealist realism": the exploration of a real-life surreality encountered on the streets of the city. The first part of the book concentrates on the depiction of the street in Surrealist publications such as the magazine "La Revolution Surrealiste" and Andre Breton's book "Nadja". The second half examines the way that photographers like Brassai and Cartier-Bresson used the tactics of Surrealism to question a conventionally realist reading of the medium. This book throws new light on Surrealism, emphasising its connections with the everyday life of the city. The Surrealist photography of Paris reveals a city where order and control are constantly being undermined. There are also lessons here for contemporary documentary practice.In the twenties, the Surrealists were aready seeking ways to incorporate subjectivity and ambiguity into documentary, without betraying its essential connections with the real.
List of figures Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Between index and construct 2. Surrealism on the street 3. 'Nadja': a 'voluntary banality'? 4. 'La revolution surrealiste' and the urban spectacle 5. A Surrealist Atget 6. Terrain vague 7. Brassai: Paris night and day 8. Henri Cartier-Bresson: 'Images a la sauvette' 9. Phantom Africa: a Surrealist ethnography Bibliography Index