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August 24, 2021

25 Vivid Color Photographs of Paris in the 1950s

Post-war Paris brought a blossoming of culture and thought. The Nouvelle Vague transformed French cinema, young couturiers reinvigorated French fashion, existentialism flourished in literature and philosophy, and the city swung and swayed to a vibrant jazz and rock ’n’ roll scene.

In the middle of it all, was Paul Almasy. The well-traveled photojournalist, born in Hungary, had made Paris his hometown and spent his days and nights wandering its alleys, avenues, and after-hours bars. Through his photographs, we visit the embankment of the Seine and the old market halls, its music joints and glamorous cafes, but also the hidden backyards and artist’s studios.

Joining the ranks of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau, Almasy is one of the great chroniclers of 1950s and 1960s Paris. This collection of his Paris photographs is a vivid and evocative portrait of the city in all its mid-century vibrancy and change.

Paul Almasy was born on May 29, 1906, in Budapest, Hungary. After studying political science in Austria and Germany, he became a press correspondent and photojournalist. In 1935, he founded the PASI Press Service / Service de Presse in Territet at Lake Geneva. Based in Monaco, he reported on World War II as a Swiss press correspondent from France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Following the liberation of Paris, Almasy settled there and became a French citizen in 1956. His travels as a reporter took him to every continent over the course of his career, and he worked for UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO, IAO, and FAO. From 1972 to 1989, Almasy taught at various French universities, including the Sorbonne and the Centre de formation et de perfectionnement des journalistes in Paris. In 1993, he was awarded the Ordre national du Mérite order of merit. Paul Almasy died on September 22, 2003, in Jouars-Pontchartrain, in the French department of Yvelines.

(Photos by Paul Almasy)


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