May 13, 2010

Nighttime Explorations: Paris after Dark

One of the master photographers whose work I admire and draw great inspiration from is Brassai. He produced a great range of work during his lifetime but the thing he is most widely known for is his night photography of Paris. Apparently he was a night owl and from sunset to dawn he roamed the streets of Paris (during the 1930's) with his camera capturing on black and white film those aspects of Paris which he loved, admired and felt amused by, etc.
In fact one of my prized possessions is the Pantheon edition of "Paris by Night" which contains full-page images taken by Brassai, each one having been printed in heliogravure using Brassai's original plates.
When I'm in Paris, I love to spend every moment exploring and experiencing the city on foot accompanied only by my camera, and this is true especially at night because of the beautiful contrast that you can capture on black and white film from the lights all around the city.
I like to shoot what I find visually interesting, or quirky, etc., in fact the composition often changes depending on my mood, my surroundings, and so on. Although I'm not conscious of it, I think that deep down inside me, when I'm shooting, every now and then I try to evoke inspiration from the masters whom I admire.
On the particular night I shot this image, I think I was aided by the spirit of Brassai, or at least I would like to think so. That's one of the beautiful things about Paris: whether in the 1930's or now, the city has so much charm and character that the passage of time hardly matters at all, especially when viewing a black and white image.

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