Click, click. Flash, flash. The mois de la photo is back: a sparkling biennial affair featuring big shot photographers, crowded album signings, vernissages and "after" parties. And... November 2000's enhanced 20th anniversary edition (reviewed on pages 6 & 7) spotlights, guess what? Paris. A brilliant choice, as the craze for digital gadgets has given this city a new "lease of light."
The Big Picture
The public can't get enough images. Classic or electronic. Anything goes. From Robert Doisneau's black and white depictions of la vie parisienne. To the "bad trip" special effects in "The Cell." A movie starring Jennifer Lopez, as a psychologist who embarks on a virtual exploration of a schizophrenic serial killer's subconscious.
To date, more than a million visitors have seen Yann Arthus-Bertrand's aerial pix of planet Earth, displayed on the Luxembourg garden's (côté boulevard St-Michel) railings. A captivating, free, 24-hour expo to be extended thru Christmas, by popular demand.
Sony's "go create" slogan says it all: 007-sized devices that record directly on floppy disc or mini CD are set to add an extra dimension to the Lumière brothers dream.
Camera stores have entered the digital age. Many of them lab test the latest equipment for their customers, and publish the data in comparative catalogs. Among these the Phox chain and FNAC, whose outlets offer hands-on photo numérique et retouche courses. (Info from sales staff,)
Another attendance figure-splicer, the Musée Carnavalet's Paris en 3D (1850-2000) expo is an interactive eye-opener. Visitors gravitate from one Belle Epoque stereoscope to the next, adjusting the lens themselves. Then head for the video game era, via... Red'n'green anaglyph "specs." Photosculptures. A relief portrait of Juliette Greco. A lenticular "souvenir postcard" of the Eiffel Tower. And, a virtual visit of the Pompidou Center. A highlight? French couturier Olivier Lapidus' hologram suit. (To Dec 31, 23 rue de Sévigné, 3e, M° St-Paul, tel: 01 44 59 58 58.)
A show held two years ago at one-step-ahead one-stop store Colette zeroed-in on the fad for Soviet Lomo cameras. It's hip to take off-the-hip snapshots with these dead-basic bijous. A trend confirmed by"Lomo vues de Paris," a mois de la photo theme developed by four Marais galleries: the Gilbert Brownstone Family Foundation, Anne Barrault, Evelyne Camus and "Chez Valentin."
Camera-struck Pqris favorite bookstores? For film buffs: Librairie Contacts, 24 rue du Colisée, 8e, tel: 01 43 59 17 71. For photo albums: La chambre claire, 14 rue St-Sulpice, 6e, tel: 01 46 34 04 31, which also organizes events such as "City Mosaics," an exhibition of Paris and NYC street scenes by American fashion and publicity photographer Errol Sawyer, (Nov 8 to Dec 9). For new images: Un Regard Moderne, 10 rue Gît le Cur, 6e, tel: 01 43 29 13 93.
The most picturesque arts and photography space? Le Chemin du Montparnasse (21 av du Maine, 15e, tel: 01 42 22 05 64). A memorial studio-museum, in a leafy alleyway, a stone's throw from Montparnasse's landmark tower. To Nov 5: a retrospective dedicated to Roger Pic, an octogenarian showman turned photo-reporter extraordinaire who 's the subject of a biography by Jean-Claude Gautrand (Editions Marval). On the cover: Che Guevara. Inside: more 20th century icons, from Louis Armstrong to Picasso. Nov 9 to Dec 30: "Montparnasse vue par...". The quarter's bohemian heyday viewed by 16 big league photographers, beginning with Edouard Boubat.
Stop press... The Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild's Centre national de la photographie (11 rue Berryer, 8e) has been revamped. New facilities, including le café du Centre (architect: Rudy Ricciotti/furniture: Philippe Starck), open November 6.
Photographic images are ubiquitous. In decor and dress codes... Sparked by Stella McCartney, the fashion for T-shirts that tell a story has gained stamina. Boutiques like Kulte (24 rue Tiquetonne, 2e, tel: 01 40 28 06 56) stock tees with Starsky & Hutch stencils (285F). And, nearby, Tim Bargeot (3 rue de Turbigo, 2e, tel: 01 42 21 32 40) is re-launching a "'60s faces" tight top.
Oh! and... After four years, Parisian editrix Nicole Wisniak has brought out the 14th edition of her hyper-eletist periodical Egoïste: 340 pages of unbridled perfectionism. Working notably with Avedon, Wisniak is a self-confessed photography maniac, with a penchant for best-selling authors and "hot couture, (the name of Givenchy's freshly introduced fragrance).
Like a postcard. Or souvenir... Paris nightspots have taken to recording compilations that reflect their establishments' "in-house" ambience. Trailblazers include Hôtel Costes Costes, la suite," and the Buddha Bar's CD sets. The latest? Avenue George V bar the Barfly's electro-breathless (F.K. Junior & Sindress) release.
"Home of the Real American Blues," the Maxwell café, on Neuilly's Ile de la Jatte (17 bd Vital-Bouhot, tel: 01 46 24 22 00) has what it takes to record CDs and videos of its popular dinner-concerts... A digital studio, all its own. And, the "Live at the Maxwell Café" collection kicks off this month with Chicago chanteuse Holly Maxwell.
Before & After
The season began like an Indian summer, with open-air parties on the roof of the Institut du Monde Arabe. For starters, the launch of urban weekly Zurban. Then, an "after" for the opening of Geda & Epure's first Paris "his & hers" boutiques. One Bastille-based. The other in St-Germain-des-Prés.
On Friday, October 13, VIP nightclubbers clawed their way into Les Bains's 20th anniversary bash. Now, everybody's in a more civilized mood. The Barbara Bui café (27 rue Etienne Marcel, 1er, tel: 01 45 08 04 04) just created a "before" supper concept. Cocktails & piping hot plateaux exotiques.
The former What's Up? bar has re-opened. Same Bastille venue (15, rue Daval, 11e, tel: 01 40 21 16 16). Same Hervé in charge of la programmation DJ. But it's called the "Wax" and the decor's kinda neo-psychelic.