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Photographic Memories and Cleanliness is Next to Frenchliness

Part I: Photographic Memories

14-11-11parisphoto-2This was the week of photography – with Paris Photo on at the Grand Palais and a number of other “salons” and auctions centered around the recorded image. People from all over the world came to present their work, sell their offerings as well as to make purchases. A dealer pays a heavy price to have a stand at the international expo, but to most, it’s well worth it, as important collectors find it convenient one-stop shopping.  

I perused Paris Photo twice during the week and visited with several old friends from Los Angeles where I first began to collect photography. At the time, I dabbled a bit as a dealer, holding shows in my own home and working with a few of the galleries. Learning the art and getting to know some of the artists themselves was fun and exciting, not to mention acquiring a small collection of beautiful pieces to hang on our walls.  

Photography used to be a truly affordable collector’s item, but now a formidable print can sell for as much as 300,000€ – as did one Irving Penn photo at Saturday’s auction at Christie’s. I bid on one photo in the auction, but halted short of going over my budget when calculating the TVA, the auction house commission and the dollar to euro rate of exchange.  

To those of you who are considering collecting photography and investing in this genre of art, I have one bit of advice: only purchase what you believe you will never want to sell! Honorable dealers will tell you that you should never collect art for the sole purpose of investment – that to own it is to love it and cherish it – and should it reap financial rewards in the future, then all the better, but it’s not a reason to own it.  

This is true for just about everything in life – it’s the passion in it that makes it profitable.   

Part II: Cleanliness is Next to Frenchliness 

14-11-11-hygieneA friend sent me a report from the national news channel France 24 saying that the “French are the cleanest in Europe,” according to a study taken in 2010. Journalist Tony Todd jokes that “If cleanliness is next to godliness, then the French – and especially French women – are among the most saintly in Europe.” 

Well, we know that Paris cleans its streets every single day compared to New York which picks up in most neighborhoods only two to three times a week and not on holidays. But lets’ face it, the French have always had a rather dubious reputation for lack of cleanliness. Just look at all the bad press they have gotten over doggy poop on the sidewalks…although great improvements have been made in the last few years (thank goodness).  

Still, according to “United Minds for Tena,” “97% of women in France feel ill at ease going out without having washed their hands or brushed their teeth, compared to 84% of Germans. And 94% of them feel uncomfortable leaving the house if they have not showered, as opposed to only 74% of in Britain.” 

The British invented the “water closet” as early as 1596, but it didn’t become popular until the late 1700s. The French were the first to provide separate facilities for men and women and the first public toilets appeared in Paris in 1824, but you’re going to love this little-known fact: in the 1850s, the man who had the distinct pleasure of developing the toilet design as we know it today was named Thomas “Crapper.”  

To download the pdf of the study, click here: Study on European Hygene 

A la prochaine…

Adrian after_seineAdrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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