Without even knowing the theme, one could guess it considering the overwhelming number of fitting images at this year’s “Paris Photo” Fair (at the Carrousel du Louvre) that ended yesterday: Arab and Iranian photography. Each year, close to 100 galleries and several publishers from all over the world gather to show their photographic wares to almost 40,000 visitors. Seven new countries were represented this year: Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Portugal, Russia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.
There were many images from Egypt, both contemporary and vintage, that brought back the fresh memories from my recent trip there — Michael Kenna’s Giza Pyramids of 2009 among them, along with images of Cairo I had attempted to take myself, but was unsuccessful.
Before entering the hall of galleries at the entrance was a mountain of old photos there for the taking…and yes, they were being taken! Every few moments there would be a few photos flying through the air as the mountain was tossed like a giant salad to bring those at the bottom to the top.
I tried to take in all the galleries in my two visits to the fair, seeing a few old friendly faces, both human and in photo. Bonni Benrubi, one of New York’s more prestigious dealers, her gallery having been founded in 1987, was there in her usual corner space. Knowing my fondness for Fernand Fonssagrives’ images of his wife, Lisa (a famous top model also having married Irving Penn), she unearthed one of my favorites from under her display table just to show me, make me drool and of course, with the hopes I’d plunk down a ‘chunk of change’ to be the rightful owner.
No question, investing in photographic art is not only a pleasure, but less of a risk than many other ways we choose to invest our hard-earned bucks, and so the offering is more than tempting. From experience I can tell you that it’s easy to get the “photo bug” — just as easily as it is the “Paris edifice complex” — and investing in either is very much the same. Purchase that which is short of supply and high in demand at the best price you can!
Saturday night, 19-year-old Patricia Guerrero of Granada, astounded a full house at the Salle Ravel in Levallois-Perret with her powerful Flamenco dancing, accompanied by accomplished singers and guitarists. Flamenco has also worked its way into my bloodstream, thanks to “Flamenco en France,” an organization here that sponsors and promotes it. The next performance is this coming December 11th and 12th of singing and guitar playing with Rocio Marquez Limon and Guillermo Guillén…but I warn you, it’s addicting!
With furnishings for “Le Saint-Tropez” and “La Brigitte” in mind,I trekked Sunday morning with a friend who knows it well, to the weekly “brocante” (rummage sale) at Porte de Vanves. Within a few moments we stumbled upon a metal folding café table with two chairs that would work perfectly on the terrace. Using a technique I had used in the souk in Cairo, offering half the price in cash, showing off the crisp bills, and willing to take them away that instant, it was successful. And so without much ado, we hauled the pieces back to Le Marais on two buses and deposited them in my ‘new’ 17th-century cave, with its vaulted ceiling and dirt floor…till further notice.
Next weekend is the annual Christmas brocante on rue de Bretagne where I am sure to find more ‘goodies’ for the apartment. For three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, rue de Bretagne and the streets around rue Eugène Spuller in the 3rd arrondissement will be awash with street vendors selling everything from knickknacks to clothing to furniture. If you’re a brocante addict, then be sure to visit http://brocabrac.fr/ which lists all the rummage and attic sales in France to keep you hopping from one to the other. These are great places to find interesting items with which to decorate your sweet Parisian (or elsewhere) “pied-à-terre.”
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
(photo by Walter Pappas)
P.S. If you’re making a French turkey in France, you’ll have to hock your jewels, as the going rate is 8€ per kilo and the smallest turkey you can buy is six kilos. Special order it from your local butcher in advance of Thursday and don’t forget, it cooks in half the time of her American ‘sister.’
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