Christopher Howse

The spur of the moment

Christopher Howse contrasts the quirky drama of life captured by 19th- and early 20th-century photographers with the banal or violent gimmickry in the work of their modern counterparts

A memorable image by André Kertész shows a steam train passing over a high viaduct behind a row of peeling French houses next to a demolition site while a man in a suit and hat with his back to the train walks across the foreground, a mysterious painting-shaped item wrapped in newspaper under one arm.

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