acques Henri Lartigue was fascinated by the ascent of sport in the early 20th century as a fashionable pastime for the middle classes, and was himself a keen sportsman. Lartigue’s entirely unposed photographs, presented album-style in this gorgeous, luxurious and delightful volume, capture both the joyous exuberance of amateur sports––racing, skiing, tennis, gymnastics, hang gliding––and the particular character of its popularity in the first half of the 20th century.
Lartigue is an absolute master at conveying the dynamism of the human body at play––the peculiar shapes it can contort into, and the gestures that can express anything from easy nonchalance to fierce focus. These photographs also serve as a historical catalogue of the paraphernalia and smart casual clothing associated with each sport.
Jacques Henri Lartigue (1894–1986) was a French photographer and painter, most famous for his photographs of the leisure activities of France’s middle and upper classes. An avid photographer from the age of seven, Lartigue gained fame for his photo albums, which provide a comprehensive chronicle of the twentieth century in France and abroad, and for his official portraits.
(Photos: Jacques Henri Lartigue / Ministère de la Culture-France / AAJHL)