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Paris in Our Eyes and Our Hearts

I don’t know if this is true, but it must be: Paris is the most photographed city on the planet.

One can easily understand this, if you believe that it’s the most beautiful city in the world…which I do. And now, with a miniature digital in everyone’s pocket, with no film or development expense, just an occasional battery recharge or extra memory card, there’s no stopping the old trigger finger.

I am guilty as charged. I never leave home without my little Pentax Optio…you never know when something you see strikes you as worth immortalizing. Personally, I don’t bother with the “monument” shots. I leave those to the first-time tourists who need to convince their friends that they really were in the City of Light. recommends to “…make sure that you’ve got some photos of Notre Dame, the area around Ile de la Cité, the Tour Eiffel, and the Champs-Elysées with the Arc de Triomphe in the background.” I bet even you have a few of those in your scrapbook from way back when…right? I do!

My daughter is photographing the city like a maniac this month, with a much more sophisticated and capable apparatus than my little pocket model. McGraw Hill Publishers hired her to come up with at least 200 shots of typical Paris life to print in their text books. The assignment isn’t as easy as one might think — since every shot has to “say” Paris, without really saying it, so that the viewer can’t mistake the Seine for the Hudson. So far, she’s shot more than 1200 images and lucky me, I get to choose from the rejects. But, who’s complaining? They’re of Paris, so how could they be bad?

San Francisco photographer Jan Hanson will be sharing some of her creative secrets (“The Artistry Of Photographing Paris”) this coming Sunday evening, January 8th at 6:30 p.m., at Patricia Laplante-Collins’ Paris Soirées. During the past 25 years, Hanson has been photographing her favorite things in California and France. She uses Nikon film equipment and prefers to shoot the “old fashioned” way by “using many manual features of the camera and not forgetting that the most important pieces of equipment are the eye and the heart.” Her talk isn’t the only reason she’s in Paris this time of year…turns out she is signing the “Acte de Vente” on her new apartment jut off the Bastille this coming Friday. (For more information and to reserve your place at Paris Soirées, visit today’s calendar at /parlerparis/calendar.html, call or email [email protected])

You know, photographing Paris can be against the law. French privacy laws grant people rights over their own image and also that of any intellectual productions that enable them to claim damages for any unauthorized use. So, photographers beware. In 1999, photographer Willy Ronis and his agency Rapho had to cough up more than $4000 to a flower-seller who sued him for a photo taken in 1947 without her consent. Photographers of modern buildings or any works of art displayed in public can also be taken to court. Just think, the work of a photographer such as Atget would no longer be possible in France today…if everyone insisted on their rights.

Thank goodness, not everyone is so quick to call their lawyers and we snap-happy photographers won’t have to hide away our fab photos of the city we hold in our eyes and our hearts.

A la prochaine…

Adrian LeedsEditor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. Cities that begin with the letter “P” will have my Photographic attention this weekend — so tune in Monday when I’ll be sharing with you Portraits of Prague.

P.P.S. Visit with us all next Tuesday afternoon at Parler Paris Après Midi! See /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for all details.


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