Love on the Left Bank

Love on the Left Bank
Love on the Left BankLove on the Left BankLove on the Left Bank

Photographs and text by Ed Van Der Elsken.

London. Andre Deutsch. [1956]. First edition, first printing. English language edition. Black cloth-bound hardback, dust jacket. Unpaginated [c.120 pages]. 216 black-and-white photographs. 275 x 205mm (10 x 8"). 0.6kg. . English. Very good; a degree of creasing and rubbing to folds, some wear to forecorners and head and base of spine, some slight loss at head of spine; a small 1cm closed tear to top edge of front jacket, crease to top edge of rear jacket, price-clipped; light knock to front lower forecorner, not affecting pages, 4cm split at top of rear hinge.

A scarce first edition with dust jacket of the first book by the important Dutch photographer Ed Van Der Elsken. Elsken took the photographs for the book over a period of 4 years whilst he was living in Paris. He was a bohemian fly on the wall photographing a group of young artists, deadbeats and addicts who gravitated towards the cafes and bars of the Left Bank, the home of Existentialism. Encouraged by Edward Steichen, Elsken collected his images into a book, providing a narrative text to the photographs. His girlfriend, an Australian called Vali Meyers appears in many of the photos and in the book is cast as the femme fatale named Ann. She leads us into the fictional lives of others. The book is an early example of the photonovel genre and its filmic, diaristic approach has influenced the work of Larry Clark and Nan Goldin. The book was published simultaneously in English, Dutch and German and was designed by Jurriaan Schrofer.

[Hasselblad Center. The Open Book. p.168-169; Roth. The Book of 101 Books. p.146-147; Auer. 802 Photo Books. p.363; Parr & Badger. The Photobook: A History Volume I. p.245]