Born in Brasso, in Transylvania, Gyula Halász settled in Paris in the mid-twenties and became acquainted to photography thanks to Andre Kertesz’s work. Having adopted the name Brassai (inspired by his native town), he began to photograph Paris by night in the early thirties and thus depicted with humour and tenderness a crude collection of prostitutes, travesties, louts and lovers passionately kissing under the dim light of street lamps. Brassai became friends with other night birds such as Pablo Picasso, Henry Miller, André Breton and Salvador Dali, strongly influencing the Surrealist movement when he decided to depict the mysterious primitive-like graffitis engraved on Parisian walls. The photographer was not only a wanderer but also captured poetic portraits of his artistic entourage with a desire to make their existences even more fabulous: ‘I don’t invent anything. I imagine everything…Most of the time, I was inspired by my everyday life. I believe it is the most sincere and humble depiction of reality, of the most trivial, that leads to the fantastic.’ Although he was described by Henry Miller as a ‘living eye’, Brassai nonetheless gave his images a sense of enigmatic and surreal reverie, surely something that has to do with their nighttime atmosphere.