Archive for février, 2009

The Queen of Paris

Samedi, février 28th, 2009

I usually do not take shots of homeless people as I always feel this is taking advantage of their weakness. Yet today at the end of Les Champs Elysées, I saw that woman looking at her face in a mirror with such a proud smile that I felt she was the Queen of Paris enjoying the garden just in front of President Sarkozy’s palace.

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Leica M8 with 85mm Jupiter 9 at F4, ISO160

2CV Drug

Vendredi, février 27th, 2009

I can’t resist taking shots of 2CV’s especially when they are so colorful and running through the Concorde Place on a grey Winter day. Almost got hit by a car as I ran frantically towards it, maybe the reason why the driver was laughing …    (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M8 with 35mm Summicron at F2, ISO640

A day at the SIMA

Jeudi, février 26th, 2009

The SIMA fair is one of the biggest farming show in France that took place this week in Paris. The show displayed thousands of square meters of the latest farming equipment and even a cattle exhibi. While located in Paris, most visitors come from the rural areas of France uncovering a strong contrast between the glamourous ads of marketing departments and real inhabitants of the countryside.

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Epson R-D1 with CV25mm at F4, ISO1600

The girl in the crowd

Mercredi, février 25th, 2009

This shot could have been taken in any decade of the last 50 years. While modernity keeps on changing our lives, the Bohemian spirit of Paris remains strong in the younger generations. Luckily.

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Leica M8 with 50mm Summicron, ISO160

Drama at Parc Monceau ?

Mardi, février 24th, 2009

Well obviously not that dramatic as Parc Monceau is a peaceful oasis within the city. Nonetheless, it had to be quite an event for these two elder to lift their eyes off the Saturday newspaper.

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Leica M8 with 35mm Summicron at F2.8, ISO160

photographie rue street photography paris leica m8 photos pictures

Concorde Lovers

Lundi, février 23rd, 2009

Yesterday on Place de la Concorde,  two lovers were kissing with a well-know scenery behind them. A Parisian classic I guess.    (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M8 with 35mm Summicron at F2.8, ISO160

Slideshow : Carnival in Paris

Dimanche, février 22nd, 2009

It is a little known fact that Paris also has a carnival. Even if it is still a small one even, the enthusiasm shown by the participants and thousands of spectators is a pledge for bigger ones in the future. So here is a slideshow on what happened between Belleville and the Town house.  Click on picture or here to display.

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Leica M8 with 35mm, 50mm Summicron and 90mm Hexanon

Robert Frank Exhibit

Samedi, février 21st, 2009

Today I visited the Robert Frank exhibit at the Jeu de Paume. This building, located within the Tuileries Garden, is all devoted to photography and usually runs several exhibits at the same time. Therefore if you are interest in one of the great street photographers and plan to be in Paris over the next month, don’t hesitate to visit that great exhibit which will end on March 22nd. The main floor dedicated to Robert Frank had the full series of two of Frank’s books displayed, that is « The Americans » and  « Paris ».

So, after going through the whole exhibit, the following impressions and thoughts came to my mind :

– I had a clear preference  for « The Americans » over the « Paris » series and found that matter of fact puzzling as I live in Paris. Indeed, I did find the pictures of « Paris » full of poetry yet not in any ways as powerful and documentary as the Americans. Robert Frank being European, it might have been more difficult for him to extract the essence of his own continent than America’s which he could discover with a candid eye.

– plenty of pictures had a very approximate focus. Yet I found it made them even more expressive and added to the poetry of most of the scenes depicted by Frank. It was a refreshing view, as nowadays photographic equipment manufacturer’s marketing arguments have us running for the latest in terms of sharpness, lack of vignetting or even micro-contrast. Robert Frank is one more proof that the equipment does not make the photographer and as many of the greatest shots in the History of Photograph were made with 1950 equipment.

– finally, I often read the following statement : »this picture has already been shot in the past, this is nothing new ».  Consequently, are most contemporary street photographers damned to repeat the shots of the past made by Greats such as Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson or Walker Evans ?  While our style is certainly a mix of many influences, shots taken in 2009 are definitely different than 1950 as fashion, architecture and mainly society has evolved significantly. A given framing might have been done before, but the content and its meaning cannot be repeated. Would a couple have dared kiss next to a lineup of people in total indifference back in the 50’s (see shot below)? Probably not …

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Leica M8 with 35mm Summicron at F4, ISO640

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Leica M8 with 35mm Summicron, ISO640

Triple Sce(i)ne

Vendredi, février 20th, 2009

In the background, an ad campaign on the police headquarters  while passer-by’s walk along the building.  In the foreground, a collection of painting and old ad posters of a news stand. And in the middle,  the Seine River running quietly between the high walls.       (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M8 with CV25mm, ISO160

Life inside : Café Panis

Jeudi, février 19th, 2009

Close to Notre Dame stands Café Panis where visitors lingered in this busy stop. It reminded me of these cafés where people would gather to discuss politics, art or philosophy endlessly and made Paris the great City of Lights. They are also a big part of the history of photography as Capa or Henri Cartier-Bresson were regulars and probably had their vision of the world strongly influenced by the many hours spent chatting and debating around a few glasses of beers.

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Leica M8 with CV25mm at F5.6, ISO160

Tatie at Tati

Mercredi, février 18th, 2009

Tati is a famous budget clothing chain whose first store was opened in the 50’s close to Montmartre. Yet « Tatie »  is a familiar nickname for the family aunt, usually used by children. This old lady searching through discounted items outside the store had the look of a Tatie, just like she had just appeared magically from the 50’s for a quick visit to her nephews.     (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M8 with CV25mm at F5.6, ISO160

Far away lands

Mardi, février 17th, 2009

My only comment on this picture will be the translation of the text on the poster: « There are lands that grow your soul ».      (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M8 with 90mm Hexanon at F2.8, ISO640

The Liberty Sister

Lundi, février 16th, 2009

While everybody knows New York’s Liberty statue, it is less known that a smaller replica can be found in Paris below the Pont Grenelle. Indeed, the Statue de la Liberté was a gift from France to the United States in 1886 as a sign of friendship between the two nations yet a little sister was built on L’Ile des Cygnes. Funnily, this statue was rotated several times as it first faced the Eiffel tower, than the presidential palace to finally be orientated West in direction of her American sister. It can be seen on the picture as the sunset was witnessed by the many Sunday wanderers, almost giving the impression of a large ship entering the harbor. « New York, New York » could almost be heard in the distance.

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Leica M8 with CV25mm, ISO160
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Merry-go-round at Les Halles

Dimanche, février 15th, 2009

You will find many carrousels in Paris, the most famous one being located at the bottom of the Montmartre Hill (as any « Amelie Poulain » viewer will remember). This one was recently inaugurated on top of the Halles shopping complex, with a great view on the Saint-Eustache church. This family was apparently eager to go for one more ride before the sunset.    (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M8 with 35mm Summicron at F2, ISO160

Free Hugs on Valentine’s Day

Samedi, février 14th, 2009

Today is lover’s day. Not for everybody I guess, luckily this group of friends had gathered in front of the Pompidou Center to give free hugs to the ones that needed it. What a cheesy day !    (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M8 with 35m Summicron at F2.8, ISO320

Broke in Foch

Vendredi, février 13th, 2009

The Foch Avenue is probably the most famous street in France after les Champs-Elysées. It is home to the biggest fortunes of France and links the Arch of Triumph to the Boulogne Woods. Though you will encounter many Mercedes and Rolls-Royce parked along the town houses, a magisterial metro station lays at the end of the avenue.  Perhaps it was built for the numerous maids and servants that work in the area though lately  you might find a few broke bankers entering soberly the station …    (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M8 with CV25mm, ISO160

Gipsies in Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Jeudi, février 12th, 2009

Les Buttes de Chaumont is less known yet a wonderful park located in the North-East of Paris. It is a favorite of the parisians so it gets very crowded on sunny weekends. The views from its many hills are fabulous and you can take a  rest below the many trees lining the curvy trails. It is behing one of them that this group of Gipsy women had decided to stop for a little chat. It did not seem to reassure the man sitting on the bench, probably due to the harsh fame following the Gipsies, many times without reason.

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Epson R-D1 at ISO800

Triple Metro Scene

Mardi, février 10th, 2009

This shot was taken at the Franklin D. Roosevelt metro station where posters are currently hung to illustrate how the metro looked in the first part of the 20th century.  The stationmaster and his assitant seem to look endlessly at the passengers walking by while the girl on the vintage poster appear intimated by so much attention.   (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M8 with CV 40mm Nokton, ISO160.

Mini on les Champs

Lundi, février 9th, 2009

You still will encounter many Mini’s in Paris, but very few in a racing configuration such as this one. The driver had stopped on Les Champs-Elysées to let his passenger as close as possible to her destination on this rainy day. For some reason, the lens created this halo around the head lights, giving the impression that the car came out straight out of a comics book.

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Leica M8 with 35mm Summicron, ISO1250

Graffiti stars

Dimanche, février 8th, 2009

This original graffiti can be found in the Saint-Germain neighbourhood. While the stars do their best to attract the attention of the passers-by, this walked by switfly without even giving them a look. Pretty though for their big egos I guess.      (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M8 with 35mm Summicron, ISO320