The Sounder

Lake Mead, Arizona, United States, 1981
We won’t bang on. This isn't a long piece about the art of the photography, Magnum snapper Harry Gruyaert’s history, or his friendship with fellow legends Henri Cartier-Bresson or Sebastião Salgado. You can read all about that elsewhere. No, the Belgian photographer’s images from his new two-volume publication Harry Gruyaert: East/West speak for themselves. One volume contains his images of Los Angeles and Las Vegas in 1981, the other his photographs from Moscow in 1989. What unites them is his mastery of the saturated colour form, the sophisticated (if unorthodox) composition and framing, the dramatic lighting, a unique vision. What makes them great is a refreshing, somehow optimistic feeling, their capturing of the natural pulse of life – despite their depiction of two very different worlds. LA and Las Vegas are all vibrant glitz while Moscow just before the Soviet Union's fall is all austere restraint. Gruyaert never intended to document current affairs during these trips, yet nonetheless they capture a remarkable period of time in glowing shades. Like we said, a work of perfect beauty.  – RS

All images © Harry Gruyaert Magnum Photos 
Harry Gruyaert: East/West published by Thames & Hudson, Hardback, Extent: 160 | Size: 30.0 x 20.4cm.

The Las Vegas, a downtown motel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, 1981

Hotel Ukraine, Moscow, Russia, 1989

May 1st Festival, Moscow, Russia , 1989