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Yvon's Paris Hardcover – May 17, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First edition (May 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039305148X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393051483
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 9.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #665,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Stevens is lecturer of photographic history at the School of Visual Arts and the International Center of Photography. He lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Kornbluth TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Genius is knowing when to stop. The French did, early on, and now they have a city with extravagantly beautiful buildings topped with a sky as open as Kansas. Customs change. Storefronts and restaurants change. Paris remains.

It should be a simple matter to photograph Paris. Pick your image, wait for the best light, shoot. What we do not know, as we hold up our digitals, is that one photographer beat us to most of these pictures --- Pierre Yves-Petit, known professionally as Yvon.

Born in Bordeaux 1886, he discovered photography at 12. A few years later, he "discovered" 100 francs --- a worker's wages for a month --- in his father's desk and bought a camera. At 23, he moved to Paris, took a dull job, and spent his weekends bicycling around Paris. By 1919, he was a published photographer.

Yvon's great gift was a refined sense of light. He loathed direct sunlight, working most often in that great light that defines Paris for many of us. That light revealed architectural details and shadows; it suggests the fullness of the day. When he shot in fog, in the early morning --- even better, when there were clouds --- he felt the photo was complete.

Cars became common, and, with them, tourists. Yvon printed his photos as post cards and was an instant hit. The gargoyles of Notre Dame, gardeners raking leaves in the Luxembourg Gardens, the Eiffel Tower at night --- Yvon's the one who took those classic pictures.

Yvon's Paris collects more than 70 of his best images. Some remind me of black-and-white versions of Manet paintings. Boats on the river evoke "L'Atalante", one of the most romantic films ever made. Mostly, because the subjects are so familiar, they're like sherbet for the eyes --- the refresh and sharpen your senses.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Shipley on June 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although the photographs are from the early 20th century, the shadows and clouds which soften the images render them timeless. It is appropriate that these were for postcards as that is the way we remember beauty. It is not a crisp bright snapshot but a gentle image with the rough edges smoothed by time.
The clothing has changed, the architecture, book stalls, bridges and the Seine remain.
The photographs are masterfully reproduced. The introduction to Yvon and his work is scholarly but engaging.
Thank you to Robert Stevens for bringing us Yvon's remarkable vision of Paris. Make certain to buy two copies as the friend who asks to borrow it will not return it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Juan on October 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You can judge this book by its cover! Breathtaking. I was not familiar with this photographer. But the printing of several photographs across the middle binding detracts from their beauty.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ex Head on June 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have a large collection of Paris photography collections and this is a brilliant addition. I have spent a lot of time in the city and Yvon captures its essence--which is its light--in these photographs. If you love Paris, get this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By deborah on January 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for the coffee table in my office. It contains remarkable photographs and I recommend it. I hope it doesn't get lifted by a visitor.
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