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Images on Paper, on Facades and on the Screen

Paris Photo at the Grand Palais

Paris Photo - Karl Lagerfeld

Paris Photo - Martin Schoeller

Zanele Muholi

Cecil Beaton

Guy Bourdin

Notre Dame at dark

Notre Dame - Dame de Coeur

Notre Dame - Dame de Coeur

Notre Dame - Dame de Coeur

Notre Dame - Dame de Coeur

Notre Dame - Dame de Coeur

Notre Dame - Dame de Coeur

Notre Dame - Dame de Coeur

Notre Dame - Dame de Coeur


Paris Photo did not disappoint. One visit is simply not enough to see it or or absorb even one fraction of what’s on display. If you can learn to “edit” by scanning the scene and honing in on what’s most interesting to you, you can survive the simple volume of works on display and focus on that which is most important…at least to you as a spectator, or collector. I visited twice, and still couldn’t take it all in.

In general terms I was impressed by the number of architectural photos as well as African themed images. There was quite a bit of work one might define as “art,” photography being the medium, rather than “photographic art,” although all photos are in fact art, created with an apparatus we call a “camera” and then printed or manipulated in some way. Some rely on capturing a moment, whereas others rely on the creation of the moment. Sometimes the technical aspect of the art is more about the craft of it, while the craft of it determines the art. I could discuss this for hours on end, but the bottom line is that the world of photography is vast and limitless, which makes it endlessly fascinating and exciting.

Karl Lagerfeld was this year’s Guest of Honor. He created a “journey” of his personal favorites, each one labeled and signed by him, on display at their various gallery stands. Those along with his own photo works were published in a special edition book. As we visited the galleries, I noted that I agreed with most of his choices—most were bold and graphic.

Photographer Martin Schoeller, a master of portraiture, was given “carte blanche” by Pernod Ricard to photograph 18 of their employees from around the world.  Famous for his “Close Up” series, he used the same light, frame and angle to record all 18 people. The result reveals each person’s uniqueness in a presentation identical to each other.

I had a few favorites, of course—the Zanele Muholi dramatic self-portraits on display at the Yancey Richardson Gallery (currently on display at the gallery in New York); the Guy Bourdin bold, bold, bold fashion photos at the Louise Alexander Gallery and Cecil Beaton’s photo of Audrey Hepburn from My Fair Lady at the Augusta Edwards Fine Art stand.. among many, many others.

As I said, Paris Photo did not disappoint and now I can’t wait for next year’s show!


Again, I find myself in the midst of 11-11 and in this case 11-11-11.

Note: One of our readers burst my 11-11 bubble by directing me to several articles that claim numerology is a bunch a malarky: “In other words, numerology, like astrology, is based on an invented system that people developed to better organize the objects around them. While people often find such systems helpful on a spiritual or emotional level, there’s no scientific evidence to prove that the system really works the way practitioners say it does.” —

Nonetheless, Saturday was November 11th, Armistice Day, and the commemoration of the signing of armistice between between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France. It happened to take place the morning—the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. (Next year will be the 100th anniversary, in case you didn’t do the math.)

In honor of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the Notre Dame Cathedral was illuminated, only like the French can engineer so brilliantly, in a breathtaking light show they titled “Dame de Coeur” (Queen of Hearts). It was available to see free to the public on the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th of November, shown twice per evening, by reservation, simply by booking on their site.

The show was created by Bruno Seillier. It tells the story of World War I, starting with a scene on a battle field in 1917, when an injured American soldier tells a young French nurse he regrets never visiting Notre-Dame:

“The scene opens in the twilight on a battlefield in 1917, on the threshold of an encounter between a young French nurse and an agonizing American soldier. In the twilight of his own life, the young man expresses his one regret: not to have been able to visit the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. Through a historical, artistic and mystical dialogue, these two souls are led to discover together the mystery of Notre-Dame, who becomes their ‘Queen of Hearts.’”

The audience gathered on the “parvis” in front of the cathedral, dark in the evening light barely silhouetted against the sky. Then, the show began and I’d have to believe everyone was as awestruck as we were. Visually, the show rivaled the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day, also accompanied by a musical journey and a narration of the story of World War I and the American soldier. The multi-facets of Notre Dame came alive in light and color — at one point even dancing.

I took dozens of photos and strung them together to make a video, but there’s nothing quite like being there yourself. This was one of those public events that Paris is simply so good at…that you just have to pinch yourself to believe you’re there experiencing it first hand. May the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month defy the naysayers of numerology.

 House Hunters International

Thursday evening on U.S. time, our latest episode of House Hunters International aired on HGTV (Life and Love, Parisian-style – Season 112, Episode 10). The popular TV show is by Americans for Americans and features Americans living in Paris. In this episode, “A couple decides to pack up their family and move to the city she loves, Paris. Brook lived and worked in Paris before moving back to California to marry and start a family with her husband, Jonas. The couple has decided to return to France to raise their two sons and run their business. Brook wants to live in the Marais section of the city, which is her favorite and has the Parisian charm she’s after. Jonas, however, is more concerned with having modern amenities, enough space for the kids to run around and an office space for himself.”

For a short time, HGTV offers the episode free on its site, as long as you have a U.S. cable TV provider. They also post it on for public viewing for a limited time.

View it NOW! On their site or on Youtube.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds - at Paris Photo 2017

Adrian Leeds
Adrian Leeds Group



Respond to Adrian

The Adrian Leeds Group

Antonio Meza

P.S. TOMORROW! Après Midi, November 14, with Antonio Meza. Antonio will facilitate an interactive workshop to help people connect with their own “Paris story” and with each other. Deatails on our Après Midi page.We’ll see you there!


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