Paris! 1914!

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Consider me ever-late to the party. You’ve probably seen these before because, thanks to the internet, there is no new thing- just a rehash of the old. I admit that I’m not often swayed by the “Frenchness” of things. Yes, your macarons are pretty and taste splendidly of delicate almonds! Yes, your soap is milled and smells splendidly of delicate almonds! You still use butter and you still smoke cigarettes. Hurrah, countrymen. Yet, the “…but it’s french!” argument doesn’t get too far with this old bear. However, I dare you to imagine a place of long-ago that, when photographed in autochrome, would look- nay! could look- any more magical and ethereal than fin de siècle (+14)  Paris, France and its immediate surrounds.

Leading off with that photograph is almost unfair. You cannot argue against it. Sure, you can still pay a visit to the Grand Palais and see a spectacular, memorable exhibition but these photographs are time travel; they fudge the line between past and present. What I’ve learned from studying and working with historical buildings and documents is that “ago” was not far and away. “Ago” is just a slight variation of “now”. Understanding and embracing that continuity is as close to a time machine as I can get.

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(For more photographs, visit www.paris1914.com)

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2 thoughts on “Paris! 1914!

  1. Hey I must be late to the party too–never seen these before and I love it. I plugged “time travel” into “explore topics” and here I am! Your post popped up in between a review of “Safety Not Gauranteed” (great movie if you haven’t seen it, do) and well, I don’t know what the other one was yet because you were in between and I came here first :). I’ve often thought of photos as a kind of magic–after all, it is essenitally a way to stop time, to capture it. It really is a sort of time travel isn’t it? You can see things through photos, people, places,things that no longer exist in our material “now”, what else on earth allows you to do that? I am no photographer, no expert, and I have often marveled at the invention of the camera. Art has always been a way to sort of capture an idea, a place, and image, a person, a thought and then express it to others, others who maybe would never see such a thing otherwise, paintings, books, have the ability to take us places we have never been both real and imagined. Photos however, literally capture reality, a moment in time, and freeze it and save it. The very first time “machine” perhaps? 🙂 Anyways, thanks for the lovely photos and sorry for the long comment, thanks for making me think such fun thoughts first thing, too early in the morning! And, I still use butter and smoke cigarettes ❤

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