This is as far as I can go back with pictures from Paris. I had their been earlier, briefly, but without camera. This one excursion, in the spring 1990, is special, though, for many reasons. One of them is that, usually, when I shot film with an SLR, the rule of thump was that 2-3 of the 36 images were keepers.
This weekend was different, because I had only brought a single roll of 24 images, and not my SLR, but just the little Olympus XA pocket camera that I still have sitting around somewhere. I guess the light and rain of early spring helped.
Another reason is that these were inspiring days, spent with thoughts about here and elsewhere, which has become a theme in my life.
A time to reflect on oneself
and each other, and on time running by,
and at night, at sleep, während die Ordner der Welt geschäftig sind.
The Belly of Paris must always have been a place worth visiting. After the food market was dismantled, Les Halles became a gigantic shopping center. I have not seen it since the new construction began a few years ago.
In any case, the area is a place worth visiting without wallet. At some places, we cannot tell anymore whether we are inside or outside.
Architecture permeates everything, even the layout of the boutiques. The lady was not pleased with me taking the picture and called security. And this was in 1991.
Long passageways in almost black and white made me think of Alain Resnais.
Escaped, one wonders if Henri de Miller’s sculpture L’Écoute in front of the nearby church of St Eustace ever gets a quiet moment.
There is nothing like Paris. Before and after a backpacking vacation in the French Alps in 1991, I spent a few days just walking around in the city.
To honor the city and its people, I have scanned and edited the negatives from these walks, as a personal work of memory.
The view above is from the Centre Georges Pompidou. The spooky sky is caused by shooting through the plexiglass windows surrounding the outside escalators of the building.
The French have a wonderful tradition how their presidents invest enormous sums in art and culture.
Right outside, the Stravinsky Fountain, with sculptures by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle, vibrant with colors and life.
Then there is the Arab World Institute, one of the Grands Projets of François Mitterrand.
Another project Mitterrand completed: The conversion of a railway station into a museum, the Musée d’Orsay.
This walk will continue.
Paris has many things to offer, and not few of them are best savored at night. One popular option is to take the RER to La Défense, and take a look at La Grande Arche.
This monumental building was designed by Johann Otto von Spreckelsen and Erik Reitzel, and is one of several Grands Projets by France’s former president François Mitterrand.
Its shape is inspired by a common projection of the hypercube into Euclidean space.
Like every good piece of art, it is worth looking at from different angles.
I took these pictures in the summer of 1991, just before a backpacking trip to the French Alps.
The platform under the Grande Arche is typically so bright and the area behind so dark that
the casual visitor will not notice what the long time exposure reveals.