Category Archives: photo

Spring 2009 in Parc de Sceaux : a walk between past and present

Eugene Adget, who had started a carreer of photographer in 1890, spent a good deal of time during year 1925 strolling along the yet quite forlorn alleys of Parc de Sceaux, taking pictures.

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This spring, eleven posters of his pictures are set on the very spot they represent, proposing a dreamy walk between past and present.

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Adget took this picture of a vase standing along the allée de la Duchesse in April 1925 at 7 AM. In March 2009, there is no more vase around.

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And the alley looks very different

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from what it was in June 1925 at 6 AM.

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This walk takes you in remote places of the garden, like this pool near pavillon de l’indépendance, which has’nt change that much.

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and nearby you get to the lovely pavillon de l’Aurore

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Pavillon de l’Aurore in may 1925 at 7 AM,  by Eugene Adget

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and March 2009, 5 PM

This walk takes you through wooden paths with daffodils

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and down the imposing stairs towards the great pool and canals.

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A good idea for a sunny afternonn.

Parc de Sceaux, parcours Eugène Adget (entrance on castle side) RER B station Parc de Sceaux. Open up to 7PM till the end of March, then up to 8 PM (usually up to sunset).

March 2009 in Parc de Sceaux

It’s been a long cold winter in Paris, but we can feel spring will be coming soon, so March could be a good time to go for a walk in Parc de Sceaux, and visit a great outdoor exhibition.

affiche Images & Magies d’Architectures offers a delightful  journey through a hundred year time and all around the world.

Great photographers shooting great buildings

rdward-steichen-the-maypole1The Maypole by Edward Steichen

…or historical places  :

cartier-bresson-mur-berlinBerlin Wall by Henri Cartier-Bresson


le-corbusier-lucien-herveLucien Hervé made an almost abstract image of a building by Le Corbusier


rene-burri-chapelle-le-corRené Burri gives an enchanting look to this chapel by Le Corbusier

… and  makes a Mexico Farm look like a painting :

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gustave-le-gray-karnak-18671Gustave le Gray took this picture of the ancient ruins of Karnak in 1867

emile-luidr-parvis-defenseand over a century later, Emile Luidr made a work of art of Paris dull (but photogenic)  Parvis de la Défense

Its interesting to see an ancient mosque and a futurist museum side by side mosquee-et-musee

Good photographers create beautiful images out of bad architecture

robert-doisneau-ivry1 Ivry seen by Robert Doisneau

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Stéphane Conturvi took this picture of a Korean modern building in Seoul in 2000, and just across the alley is a picture of Courbevoie by Rémi Lidereau :

remi-lidereau-courbevoieWhich shows that French suburbian architecture is just as dull.

hotel-dubai1But this Dubai Hotel by Frank Gehry is magic, as his Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

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An anonymous artist gives us this picture of Paris during the International Exhibition in 1900 :

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and another one this great example of 1925 style in architecture :

immeuble-fritz-hoger-1924Fritz Hoger building in Berlin 1924

And if, just like me, you love Alfred Hitchcock‘s films as well as architecture and photography, this is for you:

eric-de-mare-pont-de-forthEric de Mare took this picture of Forth Bridge in Scotland, which plays a major part in the 39 steps ( great english film of 1935)

… as well as this gorgeous house by Frank Lloyd Wright  : Hitchcock made a copy of it near Mount Rushmore to be the home of the bad guy in North by Northwest (great american film of 1959)

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Images & s d’architectures, up to March 31, Parc de Sceaux, open daily from 7.30 AM up to 7 PM, free entrance. RER B station Bourg-la-Reine and Parc de Sceaux.

Paris Film Library celebrates Dennis Hopper

Paris Cinémathèque, located in the beautiful building designed by Frank Gehri, is showing a retrospective of films played or directed by Dennis Hopper ( first part up to December 1), and a temporary exhibition :  Dennis Hopper and the new Hollywood.

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All the works presented in this exhibition come from Dennis Hopper’s personal collection ans he was involved in their setting.

This picture of a room shows two photographic portraits of Dennis Hopper, framing a billboard size self-portrait (Self portrait at the porn stand – 1962 / 2000 for the billboard enlargement and painting), in front of a large canvas :

Billboard Factory, Multi image of a woman’s face, Dennis Hopper 1964 – 2000

This very rich and varied exhibition gives another image of Dennis Hopper, besides the hippie byker of the cult film Easy Rider (which he directed in 1969) and his terrific performance of Frank Booth in David Lynch‘s Blue Velvet.(1986)

This Ready Made, Entrance (1963) is co-signed Marcel Duchamp/ Dennis Hopper.

The exhibition points out the close relation between New Hollywood and Pop Art.

Twice Dennis Hopper by Andy Warhol (1971)

Warhol with flower by Dennis Hopper ( 2000: billboard enlargement and painting of a 1963 photo)

Wilhold the Mirror, Dennis Hopper 1961

Chevy, Dennis Hopper 1956/2000

Hopper by Julian Schnabel 1991

Besides Hopper’s own production, his collection shows works by artists like Warhol and Basquiat, or Schnabel, who is also a film director, paintings by actors like Vigo Mortensen or Dean Stockwell.

Bijou Dream Ben Talbert 1965

And of course, precious film memories, like this gorgeous poster by B.L. Gary of Night Tide, an independant film directed by Curtis Harrington.

Or this autographed photo by Victor Skrebneski – who made many portraits of Dennis Hopper – showing Hopper sitting next to John Ford an John Huston. Historical and New Hollywood in the same bed in Palm Springs in 1971.

Exhibition Dennis Hopper et le Nouvel Hollywood, up to January 19, Monday to Saturday 12 to 19 (closed on Tuesday) , up to 22 on Thursday, Sunday 10 to 20, Cinémathèque Française, 51 rue de Bercy 75012 Paris, Metro Bercy. Price € 7. Information  33(0)1 71 19 33 33.

More information and Reservation on http://www.cinematheque.fr/

Richard Avedon in Paris Galerie du Jeu de Paume

The great photo exhibition in Paris this summer is dedicated to Richard Avedon. 270 photos showing the various aspects of the artist’s career, from 1946 up to 2004, the year of his death, are  to be seen at the Galerie du Jeu de Paume, in the Tuileries Garden.

Fashion pictures for Harper’s Bazaar magazine, like this one of Dovima wearing an evening gown by Christian Dior and posing with elephants at Paris Cirque d’hiver in 1955.

Or this 1968 portrait of Twiggy, a star model of the sixties, wearing a fancy hair do by Ara Gallant :

He’s been shooting politicians, artists and rockstars… and himself, like in this self portrait taken  on August 20 1980.

In the eighties, he started focusing on anonymous working class people :

Roberto Lopez, worker on an oil field in Lyons Texas, portraited on September 28 1980, is part of the series  In the American West, as well as :

Sandra Bennet,  from Rocky Ford, Colorado,12 years old, portraited on August 23 1980.

All this pictures copyright the Richard Avedon Foundation, courtesy le Jeu de Paume, and many thanks to the great site where you can go to if you want to know all about modern art exhibitions in Paris and all over France : www.paris-art.com/,

Richard Avedon, exhibition up to September 28, Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, 1 place de la Concorde 75001 Paris, Metro Concorde, tel 33 (0) 1 47 03 12 50. Closed on Monday, open Tuesday 12  to 21, Wednesday to Friday 12 to 19, Saturday and Sunday 10 to 19. Entrance € 7.

More information on : www.jeudepaume.org

And after or before visiting this exhibition, take a walk in the garden and take a look at the modern sculptures. Don’miss Clara Clara by Richard Serra, remodeling the perspective from Concorde to the Louvre :

nore Louise Bourgeois’  Welcoming Hands

to be seen close to the Galerie du Jeu de Paume.

ephemeral garden and everlasting myth around Paris town hall

At the edge of Marais area‘south part, Paris Hôtel de Ville is nowadays offering us two kind of dream, one on each side of the building.

On Town Hall’s eastern side, a free temporary exhibition is dedicated to Grace Kelly, princess of Monaco.

Anyone who has seen her entrance in Hitchcock‘s Rear Window (except Jim Stewart, performing the main character) can understand why Grace Kelly became a Hollywood myth, and consequently a prince’s bride.

There is a huge line in the afternoon, so I would suggest to go in the morning if you don’t want to wait too long.

You’ll still have stars in your eyes while walking on rue de Rivoli towards Town Hall square.

There, you can take an ecological and dreamy journey.

A quiet green pond reflects Town Hall’s front.

People rest in the sun close to a wooden cabin.

and luxuriant plants almost hide the traffic of one of Paris most crowded areas.

Les années Grace Kelly, Princesse de Monaco Hôtel de Ville salle Saint-Jean Metro Hôtel de Ville, everyday except Sundays  10/19, free entrance (last entrance 18).  Up to August 16.

Le jardin éphémère, Parvis de l’Hötel de Ville, Metro Hôtel de Ville, free entrance everyday 9/21, up to August 17.

Young talents at Paris Jeu de Paume : Alec Soth, Valérie Mréjen, Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain

Paris Jeu de Paume museum is now showing works of various talented artists under forty.

On the upper floor, the already famous American photographer Alec Soth continues in his own way the work of the great Walker Evans.

Untitled 02 Bogota 2003 from series Dog Days Bogota Alec Soth Magnum

This exhibition is called “space between us”. And it refers not so much to space between a photo and visitors looking at it as to space between the artist and his model.

Two Towels 2004 from series Niagara Alec Soth Magnum

The poster shows Charkes Vasa, Minessota 2002 from series Sleeping by the Mississipi

About the exhibition’s title, “space between us” : I often say that when I am making a portrait, I don’t “capture” the other one’s being. If photography represents anything , it’s the distance between me and the subject.

Downstairs, a French artist, Valérie Mrejen, who is writing novels as well as shooting films, presents a series of videos called place de la Concorde, after the museum’s location.

She works a lot on stereotypes, as in Capri, a video made on purpose for this event. The title already suggests a cliché of romantic issues. A man and a woman are having a couple’s quarrel in a living room, using words taken from films and tv series lines, and changing names during the argument’s course.

To get a brief example of Valérie Mréjen ‘s work, go to : http://www.jeudepaume.org/?page=article&sousmenu=&idArt=532&lieu=1

On the entrance ground and in the basement, Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain, two Brazilian artists living in Paris, use several medias to express their questioning of language and communication codes.

Midi à Paris 2008 Angelica Detanico & Rafael Lain courtesy of galerie Martine Aboucaya Paris.

They also present a virtual work on the museum’s web site : http://www.jeudepaume.org/?page=article&sousmenu=&idArt=622&lieu=1

More on their own website : http://www.detanicolain.com/

Jeu de Paume – Concorde, 1 place de la Concorde 75008 Paris metro Concorde, tel : 33(0) 1 47 03 12 50 open Tuesday 12/21, Wednesday to Friday 12/19, Saturday and Sunday 10/19, closed on Monday. Entrance 6 euros.

Up to June 15:

A highly controversial photo exhibition at Paris Historical Library

Usually, I would have categorized a post about Paris Historical Library as another chapter of “Paris Grand Siècle”, for it is located in one of the fine Renaissance style hotels of Paris Marais.

It was built in the last years of sixteenth century for Diane de France, a legitimated daughter of King Henry II, and bought in the mid seventeenth century by a sir de Lamoignon who was the president of the first Paris parliament.

Many of the “classic period” famous writers, like Racine, Madame de Sévigné, Boileau, or Malesherbes used to visit the place, which quite naturally became the Historical Library. Besides the interest of its catalog, the reading room has the most beautiful Renaissance painted ceiling.

If you go down the street, you get to the modern building where the book shop and exhibition room are located.

This is the place where opened on March 20 the exhibition of photos by André Zucc, first called “Parisians during the Occupation”.

The main point of his exhibition was to show the only color pictures taken by a French photographer during the German Occupation in Paris on world war 2. We are used to black and white pictures of this period, and these are really striking. The contest came first from the press, who pointed out that at least this needed some explanation, and then the guy in charge of culture at Paris town hall got mad about it, said it was outrageous and wanted to close it (maybe he was that mad mostly because he should have known better and earlier about it – historical library is part of Paris municipal libraries).

Finally, the title was changed into “some Parisians under the occupation” , Paris town hall edited a foreword in several languages given to visitors at the exhibition’ entrance and hired an historian to write commentaries about some of the pictures – maybe the Historical Library staff cold have thought of it in the first place.

André Zucca : place de la Concorde.

So what was the big deal? André Zucca, who was a quite well known photographer was hired during the Occupation by a newspaper called Signal, which was the organ of Nazi propaganda in Paris, to take pictures of German officials, and Paris social and political events – involving Vichy government and collaborationist spheres. These published pictures were black and white. But thanks to Signal, Zucca got some color film, which only Germans could afford, to achieve his private work (he took over a 1000 color photos). He certainly was not a Nazi militant, we was just taking advantage of the situation, without questioning it – and no doubt that he knew for whom and what he was working for, and he did not bother.

The color film needed a lot of light, so most of the displayed pictures show Paris streets under a bright spring sun, just as it was when I came and took the street pictures you see on this post. And of course, life looks more cheerful under the sun. Even this refugee moving out with his children after a bombing does not look that miserable.

So there is no set up, it was really sunny and Belleville street was crowded, these pictures point that a photographer’s eye is not objective, it chooses his subject and and shows his point of view : Paris as a lively and cheerful town, where people went on enjoying their life, not bothering about German occupation, just the way Zucca felt.

His color pictures have a strong impact, because these images make the war years closer to ours than black and white photos, and in the same time, they look a little like fiction – because the first German colored films had the same color and light effect. And sometimes, in spite of the carefree mood of the photographer, some harshness shows up -as the text on Nazi posters, and the so bright yellow stars pinned on the chest of people passing by in a Marais street.

This is a poster which has been removed from today’s Paris street, but all this fuzz has made a great deal for this exhibition, which is a big success, and is really worth visiting. The bookshop ran out of catalogs, but they will be soon reprinted – around May 10 – and for 35 euros, it is really an exceptional document.

Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris, hôtel de Lamoignon, 24 rue Pavée, métro Saint-Paul, open Monday to Friday 13 to 18, Saturday 9.30 to 18, closed on Sunday. Information on 33(0)1 44 59 29 40

Exhibition : “Des Parisiens sous l’occupation – photos en couleur d’André Zucca”, bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris 22 rue Mahler 75004 Paris Metro Saint-Paul, up to July 1, open everyday 11 to 19, entrance 4 euros.

Paris “Grand Siècle” 2 : Hôtel de Sully

Next to place de la Bastille, on #62 rue Saint-Antoine stands a great example of French seventeenth century architecture, l‘hôtel de Sully.

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You have to come in through the porch to discover its magnificence. But you can stop at the bookshop just left coming in. It sells a selection of art books and photos you can look at.

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It is called after duc de Sully, a former minister of king Henry IV who bought this house, which stayed his family’s property up to mid-eighteen century. The “hôtel” was built in 1625 by Jean Androuet du Cerceau, official architect of king Louis XIII.

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The first courtyard, on rue Saint-Antoine side, is paved with coble stones. It’s style is both post – Renaissance neo-classic and early baroque.

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These mixed influences are obvious when you look up at the statues on the wall.

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And at the female creatures guarding the door leading to the second courtyard.

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The second courtyard is more like a garden.

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Hotel Sully is part of the Jeu de Paume museum, which other site is in Tuileries garden.

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Just beginning (March 4), the current exhibition is called” la photographie timbrée”(postmarked photography) but as “timbrée” has two meanings, it also says “nutty photography”. It is dedicated to postcards of early twentieth century.

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Excerpt of Paul Eluard postcards collection (circa 1930) Paris Musée de la Poste.

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And going out through the small door on the right side, guess what : you’re back on place des Vosges.

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Hôtel de Sully, 62 rue Saint-Antoine 75004 Paris, Métro Bastille or Saint-Paul. Tel : 33 (0)1 44 61 20 20. Current exhibition : ” La photographie timbrée”. All days except Monday 12 to 19, week-ends 10 to 19, price 5 euros, up to May 18.

http://sully.monuments-nationaux.fr/

Paris : Stormy birthday party for Simone de Beauvoir!

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Simone de Beauvoir would have been a hundred year old in 2008, if she had lived that long. Her major contribution to non-fiction literature, “the second sex”, published in 1949, has nourished the feminist movements of the seventies, and is still a reference.

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This anniversary was celebrated by two interesting documentaries on public cultural French television channels (“la 5″ and “Arte”), and by literary press.

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In this harmonious appropriate praise concert, the false note came from “le Nouvel Obs'”, which is not exactly a tabloid.

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What? Scandalous she may have been in her writings as well as in her life, but she was never known as a play mate. So rose the first protest choir : How shameful it is to dig out this nude picture of a dignified writer and put it on first page, just to sell more copies !

Then, of course, the original photo came out, which started a righter contest : the real indecency was to use Photoshop to model her figure according to modern taste.

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It seems that Simone de Beauvoir never asked for this picture to be taken, but was not really mad at Art Shay : he was a professional photographer, a friend of Simone’s american lover Nelson Algren, and she left the bathroom door opened.

I don’t know if it was appropriate to put this picture on a front page, but I think it was certainly not to modify it, for it’s a really good picture. For myself, I am glad that it came out. I think it makes her look really cool, just pushing up her hair looking in the mirror, feeling just comfortable to stand naked and not bothering to close the bathroom door. It reminds us that she was not only a solemn thinker, nor her life time companion Jean-Paul Sartre eternal “girl friday”: she had the unconventional way of life which matched exactly with the ideas expressed in her writings, and she never tried to hide it (which can’t be told of all male writers).

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Shay’s beautiful portrait of Simone de Beauvoir in Chicago in 1952 is as accurate as the more conventional ones. To read his version of the facts, go to : http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/actualites/culture/20080115.OBS5331/photo_de_simone_de_beauvoir__art_shay_raconte.html

To get an idea of the passion it rose, go to : http://www.rue89.com/2008/01/07/le-nu-de-beauvoir-excite-la-blogosphere

We’ll never know what she would have thought about this. “Much ado about nothing”, maybe?

And by the way, did you read “the second sex”? If you prefer the english version, go to : http://www.amazon.com/Second-Sex-Simone-Beauvoir/dp/0679724516

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ancient photos by Steichen and Ultralab multimedia at Paris Jeu de Paume

Located in Tuileries Garden, overlooking place de la Concorde, Jeu de Paume National Gallery is a museum dedicated to modern art and photo exhibitions.

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Up to December 30, it is showing the first european retrospective exhibition of Edward Steichen work, from 1895 in France to 1955 in United States.

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Painter and photograph, he was first inspired by symbolist and impressionist painting, and almost an adoptive son to Auguste Rodin.

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He was also the first to work for fashion and publicity,

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as well as a portraitist of all stars of american film industry,

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Reporter on the two world wars, he became after 1945 director of New York museum of Modern Art photo department. Always modern and innovating, he is one of the great figures of twentieth century photo.

All around this great exhibition, Utralab collective disposes several visual and sound devices, in a satellite event called ” Paradise Island”.

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Kitsch multicolored electric pannels at Steichen exhibition entrance :

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A waiting room with videos, acrylic paintings, black earth sphere, and earphones for sound surroundings.

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Visitors climb the stairs in a dim light, along with spooky sound effects. The space is upside down.

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Next to restrooms, a canvas for visitors to tag, with a pencil at the end of a string (but someone had stolen the pencil).

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More about Ultralab on : http://www.ultralab-paris.org/#

Musée du Jeu de Paume 1 place de la Concorde,75008 Paris, Metro Concorde, tel 33(0)1 47 03 12 50. Monday closed.Tuesday 12 to 21, Wednesday Friday 12 to 19, Week ends 10 to 19. Entrance 6 euros. More information on : http://www.jeudepaume.org/