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The Art of the Parisian Lens


Some of us like our eyes to be behind the camera lens. Others like to be the object of the lens. And then there are those who just get a thrill from the end product of the union between the eye and the object of the eye.

Luckily for photographers, videographers, collectors, aficionados and the like, the month of November in Paris celebrates the art of seeing and being seen as immortalized on a one-dimensional surface in black and white or color…during the bi-annual “Mois de la Photo.”

In the late 1980s, I became interested in photography as art. My eye was not behind the lens, nor in front of the lens, but just one of those who got a thrill from the end product of the union between the eye and the object of the eye. Tad Beckman of Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, California, describes photography as art in this way: “There are three fundamental components of what we call art. First, is the artist; second, is the medium; and
third, is the art work. All three, clearly, are interrelated. The fundamental idea, however, is that the artist produces an art work within a selected medium.” He cites many of the photographers whose work you’ll have a chance to see this month during the “Mois de la Photo” (read his entire article at www4.hmc.edu)

The 15th edition kicked off October 27th with more than 90 exhibitions, seminars, conferences and films at museums, galleries and other venues all over the city. American photographers have a rather impressive showing.

The Bibliothèque Nationale de France, site Richelieu is showing 320 photographs taken during the 1970s by American photographers (through January 25, 2009), such as Diane Arbus, Mary Ellen Mark, Gary Winogrand, Lewis Baltz and others you’ll recognize if you’re at all familiar with those behind the lens whose work marked an era.

“L’Art de Lee Miller” at the Jeu de Paume, site Concorde on until January 4, 2009, is well worth a detour. I saw these same beautiful images in San Francisco this past Summer in the showing at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).

If you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, then now is a good opportunity to see his work along with the work of “Walker Evans, American Photographer” (on until December 21st).

Part of the celebration includes the annual “Paris Photo” Fair opening tomorrow (November 13-16) at the Carrousel du Louvre with about 100 international galleries and the “Salon de la Photo” also opening tomorrow (November 13-17) at the Parc des Expositions, sponsored by the SIPEC (Syndicat des entreprises de l’Image, de la Photo et de la Communication).

So, whether you prefer to have your eyes behind the camera lens or to be the object of the lens, or one of those who just gets a thrill from the end product of the union between the eye and the object of the eye…do not miss the “Mois de la Photo” in Paris and all it has to offer to heighten your visual sense.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
(“twins” with dautghter, Erica Simone, Photographer)

Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. The crew from House Hunters International (HGTV), three good-looking and personable guys (including one Frenchman who transplanted himself in Los Angeles many years ago to develop his videotography career), is here once again filming the completion of the second program in which we’ve had the pleasure of participating, featuring Mary Schiller and her husband, Jeff Ballinger, New York residents who came for a whirlwind search (only six days) to find a pied-à-terre that would make the perfect ‘home-away-from-home’ and a profitable vacation rental on a small (by Paris standards) budget. It will be a few months before it will airs, and of course, we’ll keep you posted, but for now, if you’d like to see our last House Hunters International Episode (HHINT-402), “Settling Down in Paris,” visit http://www.hgtv.com for show times.

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