Paul Almasy


Artist Biography:

Paul Almasy (1906–2003) was a pioneer of photojournalism. For more than six decades he traveled the world with his camera and during this time took about 120,000 photographs. Almasy termed his oeuvre an “archive of the world”, cataloguing the photographs by country – and for each country he visited he then sorted the photographs by category: state, economy, culture, everyday life, animals and plants being but a few of them. In this way, he established a detailed and comprehensive picture archive that today constitutes a unique document of 20th century history. Paul Almasy’s oeuvre bears witness to his interest in the fabric of society and his preference for things foreign. His black-and-white work focuses almost always on people. Almasy was not concerned with social class or milieu: he photographed the powerful men of his time, Bohemian artists in Paris, but also midwives in Africa, rice farmers in Indonesia and street children in Mexico. At the tender age of 17 Paul Almasy left his native Budapest and after various interludes, among others in Vienna and Munich, he ended up in Paris. It was the city that was to become the second home and main point of reference for the self-taught photojournalist – and it was likewise his gateway to the world. It was from here that he set out on his countless world trips on behalf of WHO, UNESCO or UNICEF. For a time, Paul Almasy was a visiting professor lecturing at the Sorbonne. He became French citizen in 1956. In September 2003, Paul Almasy died at the age of 97 in Paris.

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