designers books

Published by Sébastien Hayez

Ballet (A.
Brodovitch, J.J. Augustin, N.Y. – 1945)

Written by Sébastien Hayez, 2 years ago, 0 Comments

Alexey Brodovict

Published by J.J. Augustin, N.Y. (first edition)
Facsimile reprint by Errata Editions

1945, 2010
142 pages
Hardcover with dustjacket

ISBN-13: 978-1935004226 (second edition)
8 3/4 x 11 1/4 in, 22.4 x 28.4 cm

104 gravure plates. Original printed French-fold dust jacket.

From Kerry William Purcell’s essay (“Ballet”, Books on Books series, Errata Editions, 2011, np.) in which he quotes Christopher Phillips’ essay (“Brodovitch on Ballet”, in American Photographer, 1981): “Allowing the stage lights to flare and cause halation in the lens, he echoes the flashes and outbursts or music that would have accompanied these elegantly vivacious performances. Brodovitch’s camera fizzes, erupts, leaps and dives with the action of the performers. His “own performance as a photographer,” Phillips observed, “is equally exhilarating and at the same time haunting. In these transient figures which swirl, swoop, spring, and spin through the pictures, we can catch a fleeting glimpse of Brodovitch’s own memories stirring. Indeed, what these figurative shapes and unexpected transformations ultimately suggest is the phantasmagoria of memory itself.” (Reference: Roth, “The Book of 101 Books”, pp. 110-13; Roth, ed., “The Open Book”, pp. 136-37; Parr / Badger, “The Photobook”, Vol. I, pp. 240-41).

Published in 1945, Alexey Brodovitch’s Ballet is easily among the most legendary photobooks of the twentieth century: the first and only book he authored as photographer, it was printed in a small run of a few hundred copies, and quickly became a rarity. A Russian émigré in 1920s Paris, Brodovitch began his career as a scene painter for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, and had firmly established himself as a leading art director and graphic designer in New York when he began photographing the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo in the mid-1930s. Shot on 35 mm film, Brodovitch’s images radically disregard conventions of “good” technique; blurred and fast-paced, they capture the motion and spirit of dance both in rehearsals and on stage.

Original edition can be found around 5.000 to 13.500 USD.

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