Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Paris Fashion: Window Display Art

Window Display, Paris
You cannot visit Paris without seeing how young and fashionable Parisians are.  Part of that is the stores, the shopping and the window displays.  I have never appreciated how much work goes into the window display.  It must catch the eye and communicate a strong message.  Paris has the best window displays I have ever seen.  It should be it's own niche in the art world.

Here is one such display.  The juxtaposition of the new, modern and colorful clothing and the ancient building is what I hoped to capture.  The street signs leave no doubt that this is Paris, France!

Part of the Whole: Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower
How many photos of the Eiffel Tower have you seen in your life?

Although I haven't conducted a survey, I suspect the average American has seen the Eiffel Tower image thousands of times.  I've personally seen it on clocks, shirts, movies, photos, earrings, necklaces, tattoos, credit cards, books just to name a few.

So, how to take an image of the Eiffel Tower that isn't easily dismissed as a "been there, done that, seen that" is not a straightforward task.

This image is just a small part of the Eiffel Tower but I believe that enough things in this image allow the viewer to recognize this icon even though you don't see the whole thing.  The older park and neighborhood in the background and the strong, slightly slanted brown metal give clues.  

Columns of Buren

Columns of Buren at Palais Royale, Paris
Paris has its' share of world-class icons.  We all know what they are.  A photographer's journey to such a well-known location certainly should include them.  But what else?

Fortunately, the famous icons really just scratch the surface of this wonderful city.  The more one looks, the more one finds.

One such find is the Columns of Buren.  Buren was an artist who liked graphic lines.  He sometimes put his art in public places without permission.  The Palais Royale gave him permission for this permanent art project many years ago.  He created black and white columns of different heights which completely fill a square within the Palais Royale.  This public art is there to walk around, climb on, jump off or photograph.  Although just one block from the Louvre, the fun public square is mostly undiscovered.

In the early evening, I visited here with my family.  The kids had lots of fun running around and climbing on the columns.  I did lots of that with them.  As we were leaving, I took this photo.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Paris in Black and White

Chairs and Fountain from Palais Royale, Paris
Black and white photo processing is still used today and will always be used because there are certain advantages to removing color.  Removing the color from a photograph eliminates color distraction.  For example, in portrait photography the person is the main subject, not their clothing.  Often someone's clothing is a distraction from the person themselves.  It may be bright or have a pattern.  Black and white processing eliminates or minimizes that.

When I process a photo, I'm ask myself whether color adds to the photograph or distracts from my message.  Every photograph tells a story.  The story should not have too many loose ends.  It should get to the point without confusion.

Tuileries Garden Statue, Paris
In these 2 pictures from Paris, I feel that black and white processing helps focus on the actual shape, structure and form of the subject.  In the first picture, it is the chairs, the fountain, the partial reflection in a puddle of water and the background.  Those subjects give the viewer plenty to process without introducing any color at all.

In the 2nd photograph, the subject is the statute:  her form, shape and curves.  Color does not add anything.  It would actually serve as another distraction. 

Please enjoy.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pyramid Possibilities: Louvre


Pyramid and Louvre Abstract
The Louvre's fame reaches into every possible category:  ancient art, modern art, classic architecture and modern marvel.  There are many grand castles across Europe but only one has a giant glass pyramid.  This juxtaposition of modern and ancient in the middle of the world's art capital just works.  It's bold to take a classic and alter it dramatically.  The French lead the way for all of art.

Triangular Architecture
Approaching this architectural icon as a photographer was delightful.  During my Paris stay, I was near the Louvre.  I visited it several times:  around sunset, around midnight, around sunrise.  I also went inside the Louvre during the day for the art that is kept there . . . but that's another story. 

So, enjoy my take on the pyramid:  that's what makes the Louvre so unique.

Paris Light

Shoot Through Glass
Louvre Wakes Up
Reflections off the Glass Pyramid
Sully Pavillion at Sunset
Pyramids at Night