Books → Photography

Alexey Brodovitch

written by Kerry William Purcell

Phaidon Press | ISBN 9780714841632

Hardback – 272 pages


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A lavish compilation of Alexey Brodovitch's ground breaking work. Although Brodovitch may not be familiar to everyone, in the world of graphic arts it speaks volumes. Designer, photographer, and interior designer Brodovitch reigned as art director of Harper's Bazaar from 1934 until 1958. Working with artists such as Man Ray, Richard Avedon, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, he dramatically altered American magazine design. The double-page spread was one of his signature innovations, as was the emphasis on negative space in layouts. "If you know yourself, you are doomed" was his attitude with which he approached each new project. Brodovitch was known foremost for his work on "Harper's", but his legacy extended far beyond the magazine's pages: as a teacher in Philadelphia and New York for some five decades, he inspired dozens of young photographers and art directors who would go on to become famous names themselves, including Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Robert Frank and Lisette Model. Born and educated in Tsarist Russia, Brodovitch was gifted, mercurial, and by turn inspiring and infuriating. He accepted nothing less than constant innovation from himself and his students, yet insisted that no one could ever really teach design - that creation had to come from within. This book chronicles Brodovitch's life and work, documenting his contributions to photography, design and the visual arts, and his collaborations with photographers and artists. Kerry William Purcell includes many quotes from original interviews with Brodovitch's friends, colleagues and fellow photographers. The book is divided into six roughly chronological chapters, beginning with Brodovitch's childhood in Russia and his early design work in the 1920s, and ending with his last difficult and solitary years in New York, when he battled alcoholism and ill health.


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