Before becoming a renowned photographer and beginning his thirty-year tenure at Vanity Fair, Jonathan Becker studied under his idol, Brassaï, in Paris for a year in 1975. Becker emulated Brassaï's documentary, journalistic style and was inspired by his adage: "I find Surreal in the Real". Becker photographed Brassaï periodically over the years, capturing the artist whom he considers "the saving grace of [his] life".
I remember Brassaï was upstairs with some big collector and his wife answered the door and said to me, ‘Go right up.’ I see him on this sofa with the collector. There were all these prints — beautiful, beautiful prints — scattered all over the floor. He had these big slippers he’d wear all the time, and at one point, he just got up to go to the bathroom and walked right across the prints. Crunch, crunch, crunch. The collector gasped, but Brassaï was like that. He didn’t care. He had a wicked sense of humor. He was very naughty, very childlike. —Jonathan Becker