Eye to I: The Autobiography of a Photographer

Blumenfeld, Erwin

Verlag: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1999
ISBN 10: 050001907X / ISBN 13: 9780500019078
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Hardcover. Good condition. Translated by Mike Mitchell and Brian Murdoch. Dust jacket is somewhat scuffed and has several minor scores, bumps and creases. Small abrasion on jacket spine head. Nick on rear upper leading corner of jacket. One or two slight bumps on lower edge of front board. Hardcover spine ends are a little worn and bumped. One or two marks and scores on head of page block. Penned dedication on FEP. Pages are a little sunned around edges. Text and illustrations are clear. AF. Buchnummer des Verkäufers

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Inhaltsangabe: By turns acerbic, self-mocking, playful, even absurd, this autobiography deals with all Blumenfeld's subjects - his Jewish family, the Germans, the Vichy French, his models and New York publishers - with equal measures of wit, mockery and irony. He spares himself least of all. Born in turn-of-the-century Berlin, Blumenfeld was drafted in to serve in World War I, first as an ambulance driver (although he couldn't drive) and then as book-keeper at a field brothel, and was awarded the Iron Cross for giving his sergeant French lessons. Between the wars he was part of an avant-garde circle that included such artists as Else Lasker-Schuler and George Grosz and members of the Dada movement. During World War II, Blumenfeld was interned in a series of French camps, but eventually arrived in New York, where he found work with "Vogue" and "Harper's Bazaar".

Rezension: Although Erwin Blumenfeld would no doubt have denied it emphatically, his autobiography might be seen as exemplary of the trajectory of an artistic life brutally fashioned by the vicissitudes of 20th-century European history. Born in 1896 into a bourgeois Berlin- Jewish family, he served in the German army during World War I, was linked to the Berlin Dada coterie, and was interned in France in World War II, all before finally emigrating to America and eventual acclaim as one of the 20th century's great photographers.

Such a bald summary actually does this book a disservice. Avoiding the self-justifications and stage- managed chronologies of the typical autobiography, Blumenfeld's bildungsroman is a scabrously witty and linguistically exuberant delight, abounding in puns, neologisms and passages of writing that would shame most professional writers. The brief, devastating postscript for example, prophesying the heart-attack that would kill him, would have been worthy of Theatre of Cruelty exponent Antonin Artaud.

Eye to I is merciless in its descriptions of individuals and their vanities and pretensions, and most merciless in its treatment of the author himself--chance and accident guide Blumenfeld far more than heroics or judgement, to which his account of the series of brutal internment in French concentration camps attests. But then again, it is precisely this attitude which helps him survive: the 20th century was not made for the rational and Blumenfeld's irony and ridicule is perversely a mark of the utmost sanity. Berlin Dada, only fleetingly mentioned, must have helped hone these weapons--the only ones that an artist like him could wield. Blumenfeld proved himself as quirky and original a prose-writer as he was a photographer: this beautifully translated book with its too-brief selection of extraordinary images (including an astonishing 1933 photomontage of Hitler) is a marvellous testament to a life and to art vigorously and joyously made. --Burhan Tufail

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: Eye to I: The Autobiography of a ...
Verlag: Thames and Hudson Ltd
Erscheinungsdatum: 1999
Einband: Hardcover
Zustand: Good

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