Whilst I was in Paris last week I had a number of aims to accomplish. One was to create a travel book and slideshow centred around the French Revolution; this would include historical sites alongside factual information. That project was the main reason I was in Paris. But on a more personal level I had a goal to create something more meaningful to my own creativity. Where the travel book focuses on key monuments and historical sites, what I term the touristy shots, the personal project focuses on a feeling.
Last blog post I shared a vlog on Brassai’s ‘Paris by Night’. That book really inspired me. It made me want to go and find a Paris similar to Brassai’s Paris of the 1930s. Now, of course, Paris has changed considerably since that time. And it feels redundantly nostalgic to believe I could ever recreate that time and place: for one, I am not Brassai – I see the world the way I see it, and Brassai saw his world in his own way too; and secondly, 1930s Paris no longer exists. But I took the feeling found in his work and attempted to extrapolate it into my own work; not to copy, but to influence and pollinate.
I’ve called my project ‘Paris in Black & White’ because, although I originally intended it to all be shot at night, I had to work within the constraints of the main project. These constraints afforded me very little time to shoot on my own freely, and I couldn’t choose where I would be at what time. So I decided to enlarge the project to include photographs shot during the day; but I’ve purposefully tried to keep the theme the same. Therefore, I have photographs that I am very pleased with that do not find themselves chosen for this project. I decided to actively promote the theme above that of any individual photograph. Placing photographs with colour would not work, nor would turning colour photographs black and white. Some images do not suit black and white. But also, some photographs when turned into black and white do not share the same texture or feeling. Some photographs retain a hint of colour or have been colour graded to have a warm texture. Again, this is purposeful with the intention of being printed on a page not necessarily for viewing on a screen.
Another note on the project which you see here. On the blog these photographs appear one on top of the other. This is not how I intended them to be seen, nor does it give an accurate portrayal of the final intention. A lot of time was put into organising the photographs into a specific order; especially regarding the pairing of images on the page. Sometimes images are not intended to be viewed on their own and can only be appreciated fully when seen with the concurrent image. But sharing the project is also important and, therefore, I wanted to share the project via the blog.