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Yvon's Paris Hardcover – May 17, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
The book is better than nothing for getting a feel of Yvon's work.
But, in my opinion, since the photos were originally used for postcards, a layout that honored the postcard format would have been better. And overall, I would prefer to see more of his photos, printed smaller like postcards, and none running across the gutter.
The vertical format photos fill one page and are reproduced much larger then postcard size. They look great.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was ordered for a Christmas gift for our daughter. It arrived promptly and was in excellent condition. She was delighted with the book.Published on March 11, 2012 by Gail
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.Published on January 26, 2011 by deborah
If you love all things Paris, you will adore this beautifully crafted photo journal of Paris in the early 1900s.Published on June 27, 2010 by Passionate about Paris