Posts Tagged ‘France’

Montreuil, Paris

Saturday, November 14th, 2020
Montreuil, Paris 1988 88-8f-56-Edit_2400

Montreuil is of course not Paris, not inside the old walls or the modern municipality, but a commune at its eastern edge, only four miles from the centre of Paris, an ancient settlement now separated from the city by its modern wall, the Boulevard Périphérique. 

Montreuil, Paris 1988 88-8f-12-Edit_2400

I don’t now recall exactly where we stayed, somewhere a short walk from Robespierre (the Metro Station not the man) and just a little further from the RER at Vincennes.

Montreuil, Paris 1988 88-8f-34-Edit_2400
Rue Douy Délcupe, Montreuil,

Long before the days of Airbnb we had leased a flat from a colleague of my brother-in-law’s wife who had gone south for a month in a gîte for August – like most of Paris. It was a spacious flat for its usual single occupant, but a little cramped for our family of four, and while the boys shared a bed, we slept on a mattress on the floor, which was comfortable enough.

88-8f-13-Edit_2400

Most days I went out for a walk before breakfast to buy bread and sometimes croissants, often with one of my sons, and always with a camera. Many of the bakers were closed for August and others took it in turns to be open for a week, making some of these walks a little longer, and I often diverted down streets that looked interesting.

Montreuil, Paris 1988 88-8f-15-Edit_2400

We also went for family walks around the area, though on the first Monday of our visit went to a photo-booth to get portraits for the boys to get them their ‘Carte Orange (we still had cards from a previous visit) and then bought our ticket for what seemed a ridiculously cheap week of travel on the Metro system – I think little more than the cost of a day travelcard in London.

Montreuil / Vincennes, Paris 1988 88-8g1-64-Edit_2400

Once equipped with these we spent most of our time in Paris, but still occasionally walked around Montreuil on our way back to the flat or after our evening meal there rather than return to the city.

Montreuil, Paris 1988 88-8f-11-Edit_2400

There are more pictures of Montreuil and other places in and around Paris in the album ‘Around Paris 1988‘ and clicking on the pictures above will take you to a larger version in the album, from where you can browse them others. The images here all come from the first day or two we were staying there and are all a short walk away from the flat. I’ll feature some more in later posts.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Missing Paris

Thursday, November 12th, 2020
1984

I’m missing Paris. My first visit there was in 1966, when I spent a week or two in a Protestant student hostel a few miles south of the centre with my future wife – though in separate double rooms, each with another of the same sex – and students from around the mainly Francophone world. After breakfast each day we took the train for the short journey to the Left Bank and spent the day as tourists in the city and nearby attractions, though mainly just walking around the city as we were both still penniless students.

Paris 2008

We lunched outdoors in parks and squares, buying baguettes and stuffing them with chocolate or pate as we couldn’t afford cafes or bars, eating cheap fruit for afters. We went out of Paris to Versailles, where I managed to drop my camera in the lake as we climbed into a boat to row around the lake. The boatman fished it out and handed it back to me as we got out of the boat, rather obviously expecting a reward, but all I could afford was my thanks. The camera never worked reliably after that, and it was five years before I could afford to replace it.

We returned to the hostel for an evening meal, which introduced me to some very strange dishes – and I think one evening as a special treat we were given a kind of horsemeat stew; it tasted fine, but I’ve never sought to repeat the experience. After dinner we crowded into a room with the rest of the inhabitants to watch the games of the World Cup, though I’d gone home before the final.

Quai de Jemappes / Rue Bichat, 10e, Paris, 1984

It was some years before we could afford another foreign holiday – we’d spent our honeymoon in Manchester with a day trip to the Lake District, a visit to Lyme Park and some walks around Glossop. But in 1973 we were back for a couple of weeks in Paris, this time at a hostel in the centre and sharing a room. We took with us the Michelin Guide (in French) and I think followed every walk in the book, which took us to places most tourists never reach – it was then much more thorough than the later English versions.

Monmartre, 1973

In 1973 I had two cameras with me. A large and clunky Russian Zenith B with its 58mm f/2 Helios lens and a short telephoto, probably the 85mm f2 Jupiter 9, but also the more advanced fixed lens rangefinder Olympus SP, with its superb 42mm f1.7 lens, a simple auto exposure system as well as full manual controls. I needed my Weston Master V exposure meter to work with the Zenith. You can see more of the photographs I took on my Paris Photos web site. Some of these pictures were in my first published magazine portfoliolater in 1973.

It was a while before we returned to Paris, though we went through it by train on our way to Aix-en-Provence and on bicycles from between stations on our way to the Loire Valley in the following couple of years. Then came two children, and it was 1984 before we returned to the city with them when I came to photograph my ‘Paris Revisited‘ a homage to one of the great photographers of Paris, Eugene Atget, which you can see in the Blurb Book and its preview as well as on my Paris Web site.

Placement libre-atelier galerie, Paris 2012

We returned to the city several times later in the 1980s and 1990s, and more regularly after 2000, when I went in several Novembers for a week, usually with my wife, to visit the large Paris Photo exhibition as well as many other shows which took place both as a part of the official event and its fringe. One week there I went to over 80 exhibitions, including quite a few openings.

La Villette, Canal St Martin, 19e, Paris 1984-paris285
1988

But the last time I was in Paris was in November 2012. Partly because Paris Photo changed and there seemed to be less happening around it in the wider city than in previous years. We’d planned to go in 2015 but were put off by Charlie Hebdo shooting and later the November terrorist attack. More attacks in 2018 also put us off visiting France, but we’d promised ourselves a visit to Paris in 2020 – and then came the virus.

88-8l-54-Edit_2400
1988

While I’ve been stuck at home since March, I have been visting France virtually, going back to my slides taken in 1974 in the South of France, of our ride up the Loire Valley in 1975 and of Paris in 1984, all of which are now on Flickr. Most recently I’ve returned to Paris in 1988, with over 300 black and white pictures from Paris and some of its suburbs.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Reporters Associés

Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

The Eye of Photography has just published a series of articles by Louis Le Roux (in English translation) about the Paris photo agency Reporters Associés, founded in 1953. Le Roux joined them as a lab worker a few months later and eventually became the head of the agency, one of first generation which pioneered the “French photojournalism” of the second part of the 20th century, serving the rise of magazines such as Paris Match, Stern, Jours de France…

In part one of the five part series he brings to life some of the problems of working at the time, starting with a primitive darkroom around the same size as my own boxroom darkroom at home, and with the same lack of facilities, without running water or sink, though in a much grander house on Avenue Frochot.  

The second part looks in detail at Lova de Vaysse, real name was Vladimir-Lev Rychkoff-Taroussky (1921- 1983), the boss of the agency.

Part 3, The Fifties of the Rolleiflex, looks at the change from the press cameras using glass plates to film-based photography and some of the reportages carried out by the agency as well as giving some details about materials and storage of negatives and prints.

The fourth part of the series looks at the Agency’s peak in the 1960s when it covered all major events and a rapid change to 35mm took place, at first with Leicas and then Pentax, Canon and Nikon SLRs. While the square format of the Rollei meant that virtually all images were cropped in the darkroom, Le Roux comments “There will be less and less need to crop photos. The framing will be done directly by the photographers thanks to the change of lens. Besides, photographers don’t really like having their shots cropped.” And finally the agency got a proper modern darkroom and had to begin to cope with the move to colour.

In the final part Le Roux talks about some of the photographers who worked with the agency in the 1960s, and about the loss of their contract with Stern. Many of the best photographers were leaving to join newer agencies such as Gamma, and Le Roux, seeing the agency had no future he resigned. Two months later it was bankrupt.

It’s a well illustrated insider’s story into a period of great change in photojournalism, and well worth reading.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr


Provence Spring 1974

Monday, May 18th, 2020
Vineyard, Provence aix1974-483

We took a short break in the south of France at the start of the Easter holiday in 1974, travelling by train from London. Getting off the ferry in France we boarded a sleeper train which took us all the way to Aix-en-Provence, though rather more slowly than the current TGV service. I vaguely remember it trundling slowly and noisily around the now abandoned ‘Petite Ceinture’ in Paris in the evening and waking up the following morning as we approached Avignon.

Montagne Saint-Victoire aix1974-490

We took several coach tours from Aix, taking us to the Luberon, to the incredible fortress at Les Baux-de-Provence, Les Antiques at St Remy de Provence and to Arles, as well as taking the train to Marseille and exploring Aix and the countryside around. We tried to climb Cezanne’s favourite mountain, Mont Sainte-Victoire , but had to abandon the attempt when clouds came down enveloping us. It didn’t help that I was suffering from a temporary paralysis which made it difficult to move my legs, an unfortunate side-effect of an antidiarrhetic drug.

Les Alyscamps, Arles aix1974-026

I photographed mainly in colour on the trip and was I think using cheap Ferrania/3M film bought in 50ft or 100ft tins to load cassettes, and home processed. They have lasted surprisingly well, rather better than the few rolls of black and white I also took which has suffered extensively from insect infestation, eating their way through the gelatine. I think I must have been fortunate in the processing kit I used, and some for later films produced rather less stable images.

Street, Provence, Spring, 1974 aix1974-304

My memory too has suffered over the 46 years since I made these pictures, and although some locations are clear from the images, others I am unsure or have no recollection of. So if you can confirm any please add this on rhw Flickr page.

I tried for quite a few to find similar images on the web, using both normal searches on Google and also its ‘search by image’. I could only confirm a couple of them in this way. What I did discover is that for some sites where I thought they might have been taken, Google images finds only pictures – and sometimes hundreds of them – taken from a very limited number of viewpoints, as if photographers are reluctant to explore the location and find new and different views. Rather as if the places were marked by little Kodak signs telling you to take your picture here – I think there are still a few in London.

Marseille aix1974-119

Too many of my pictures back in 1974 are perhaps rather like these, typical tourist images, and I’ve edited out some of these in the set I’ve put online, though others remain. None are great photographs, but many have some interest, at least for me and I hope for you.

Street, Provence, 1974 aix1974-048
Flick Album: South of France 1974

You can see the pictures larger on Flickr.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


More from the Loire

Thursday, April 30th, 2020
Mill, Montreuil-sur-Maine l19B73loire
Mill, Montreuil-sur-Maine

We started our ride with a couple of excursions from Angers, including one to the north where we rode back alongside the Mayenne. Watermills were a feature at many points of our rides, particularly along the tributaries of the Loire.

Coutures x34loire

There were a number of similar roadside crosses at junctions along some of the minor roads we cycled along, but I think this was the only one I stopped to photograph. Despite the place names on the road signs it was difficult to find the location as none of those names appears on maps or on Google and I only eventually located it by ‘riding’ on Streetview. I think it is actually a little north from where the caption on Flickr indicates.

Horse-drawn cart in Vineyard, Loire Valley x24loire

Many of the roads we cycled along were departmental roads or routes communales and both were often little more than farm tracks, though most were metalled. We met little traffic, sometimes cycling for an hour or more without seeing a car or tractor. Farmers were still working with horses on a number of fields, mainly vineyards that we passed.

A main road, Indre-et-Loire d30loire

Many of the departmental routes pass through small villages and the street above was wider than many (I think it is somewhere east of Orleans, but let me know if you recognise it.) Often there were children walking out into the street who would shout encouragement to the two mad cyclists passing through. The Tour de France had just ended and cycle-mania was at its peak. Sometimes kids on bikes would try to race us, puffing noisily as they struggled past before turning off and stopping while we continued at a steady pace for perhaps another 30 or 40 miles.

There were also other cyclists, without luggage and dressed for the Tour on lightweight racing bikes (which mine had once been before I replaced its narrow tubular tires with sturdier versions on wheels with wider rims and twice the weight.) Struggling up a hill well behind me, Linda suddenly felt pedalling much easier and she began to accelerate, and at the summit a rider let go of her saddle and waved a cheery ‘au revoir’. Much less welcome were the dogs who chased us through some farms, and a couple of times I had to pull the aluminium cycle pump from the frame to beat them away.

River Thouet Montreuil-Bellay k29loire

Some of the chateaux were remarkably out of some Gothic fairly tale, such as Montreuil-Bellay above the River Thouet, where I expected to see knights on horses with lances or perhaps even unicorns, but was disappointed.

Loire Valley x26loire
Near Angers – but let me know if you know exactly where it is.

And should you feel moved to emulate us after seeing these pictures, one small road safety tip. It really is better to ride on the right (as having pressed the shutter I raced to tell Linda), though with roads as empty as this one it wasn’t a real problem.

More on Flickr at 1975 Loire Valley Bike Tour.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Visa pour l’image

Saturday, September 7th, 2019

It’s always worth looking at the web site for Visa Pour l’Image, the annual festival of photojournalism which takes place every year around this time in Perpignan. It’s a festival like Arles that I’ve often though about attending but never got around to actually doing so. Back in the days when I would have got more out of both of them I was always still teaching when took place, Arles in early July and Perpignan in September, and now I feel too old.

The festival has a Facebook page and you can read more about Visa Pour l’Image in various sites on-line, many of them in French. In English as you might expect the British Journal of Photography has some coverage with an article with a lengthy title:
Visa pour l’Image returns with a focus on press freedom and fake news

A rather different approach comes from Euronews, whose feature is titled ‘Visa pour l’image: The story of the world from big food to defecation‘.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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