One of the key shots I wanted to take when Maria and I hit Paris, was of the old Art Nouveau Métro signs. I was inspired in no small part by the great Israelis Bidermanis (Izis) shot “Metro Mirabeauallen sei del mattinox.” Although I’ve long wanted to take some street shots in Paris, the metro signs were a relatively new desire, borne in part due to my investigations into the “History of Street Photography,” which drew me to Izis’s work. However, it was also due to Maria’s knowledge of the art history and her turning me onto the beauty of the signs.
We only shot in the city for a weekend, so most of my photos are of the tourist spots — the Big Huge Marble Arch, the bridges over the Seine, that Big TV Tower thing, the abandoned palace with the cute, little pyramids, and of course Montmartre, which is lovely enough that I can’t even make fun of it. Of course, I should add that it was love at first sight with the old girl. Hell, I have deep genealogical roots in France, extending back to 1002. To some extent, it was a homecoming, and one long overdue.
Paris is big, grimy, full of drama and history, some tragic, but surprisingly gentle and serene. During our weekend, I heard exactly 2 sirens, a total I exceeded here on my way to work this morning.
I only wish they’d saved the Bastille and more of these signs. Some history needs not be forgotten.