France Is a Feast

Pratt, Katherine & . Thames & Hudson. Nov. 2017. 160p. photos. ISBN 9780500519073. $35. PHOTOG
This visual journey is told by Prud'homme, great-nephew of Paul Child and coauthor of Julia Child's My Life in France, and Pratt, a photo curator whose parents were close to the Childs. Though the focus of the book is Paul's photography, it feels more like a biography of the couple than an artist catalog. Their time in Paris, from 1948 to 1953, encompasses half the work. Here, Julia discovers French cuisine; it would be more than a decade later that her first book, The Art of French Cooking, would launch her career. A year in Marseille and an examination of Paul's earlier years complete the text. Though carefully composed and with a photographer's keen eye, Paul's black-and-white photos better serve to illustrate the personal stories of the couple's adventures rather than to stand alone as an artist's work. More than 200 images of architecture and city street life are shown alongside pictures of Julia and their friends.
VERDICT Fans of Julia Child will certainly enjoy this intimate view of the French Chef and her earliest years in the kitchen. Photographers may appreciate Paul Child's work as it captures midcentury France with charming simplicity.
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